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'India our most cherished partner'

Ties between the two countries are only improving, says Hekmat Karzai, cousin of Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

india Updated: Feb 18, 2007 11:39 IST

India has contributed over $750 million in terms of aid and construction to Afghanistan till now in almost every sector, including education and agriculture, and is the country's most cherished partner, says Hekmat Karzai, a cousin of Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

"India is the most cherished partner of Afghanistan. The relationship between our two countries is only improving," Karzai, director of the Kabul-based Centre for Conflict and Peace Studies,said in an interview.

Karzai said that India has awarded 500 scholarships for Afghan students.

"There is very high-level visibility and high-level (bilateral) delegations going back and forth. The relations have improved and I think India has been a very positive actor in the region," said Karzai, who was in Brussels to attend a conference on Afghanistan organised by Centre for European Policy Studies, a Brussels-based think tank.

Commenting on Afghanistan-Pakistan ties, he said Afghanistan is grateful for what Pakistan had done during the Soviet invasion or even for Afghan refugees.

"The sad thing is that the relationship (between Afghanistan and Pakistan) has not been as fruitful as it could have been."

Commenting on media reports of a major Taliban offensive, Karzai, who has served in his country's embassy in Washington, said he does not think it will be a serious challenge.

"We will deal with it with NATO and the coalition forces and the Afghan national army," he said.

First Published: Feb 18, 2007 11:03 IST