Afghan President Hamid Karzai informed India that his Pakistani counterpart Asif Ali Zardari has agreed to allow shipment of 250,000 metric tonnes of wheat from New Delhi to Kabul via Pakistan.
Karzai, on a visit at the invitation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, apprised the Indian side of his recent discussions with Zardari, a South Block official, who didn’t want to be identified said, on Monday.
However, the official said, Zardari’s move could face resistance from the Pakistani army and only time would tell if the decision would be implemented. Islamabad has repeatedly rebuffed Kabul and New Delhi on Indian goods heading for Afghanistan being allowed transit through Pakistan.
“New Delhi will gift Afghanistan 250,000 metric tonnes of wheat… The shipment will be effected immediately as soon as the government of Afghanistan works out its transportation arrangements,” a joint statement issued by the two sides said.
Karzai, who met the PM and External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, also briefed India on his talks with US vice-president-elect Joe Biden. Biden flew to Kabul from Islamabad after meeting top Pakistani leaders.
The Afghan President’s visit assumes importance as it gives New Delhi an insight into the new US administration’s plans for the sub-continent, especially in the backdrop of the Mumbai terror attacks.
“The leaders called for the full compliance with bilateral, multilateral and international obligations of States to prevent terrorism in any manner originating from territories under their control since terrorism emanates from the sanctuaries and training camps and the sustenance and support received by the terrorist groups,” the joint statement said.
The two sides expressed satisfaction at the progress in bilateral development and reconstruction projects in all parts of Afghanistan.
Prime Minister conveyed to President Karzai that, following the completion of the road from Zaranj to Delaram in south-western Afghanistan, a second major infrastructure project, the Pul-e-Khumri to Kabul transmission line and the sub-station at Chimtala in Northern Afghanistan, will be handed over shortly to the government of Afghanistan.
“The leaders expressed their satisfaction that the construction of the Afghan parliament, a symbol of the common commitment of both countries to pluralism and democracy, has also begun,” it said.
Karzai left for home on Monday evening.