Karzai says deal with India will not harm Pakistan ties

Reuters News
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Posted: Oct 05, 2011 4:53 AM
Karzai says deal with India will not harm Pakistan ties

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai sought on Wednesday to ease concern in Pakistan about a key agreement with India, saying it will not affect relations with Islamabad.

Pakistan, its ties with powerful ally the United States heavily strained, is looking increasingly isolated after rival India signed a wide-ranging agreement with neighboring Afghanistan.

"Pakistan is our twin brother, India is a great friend. The agreement we signed with our friend will not affect our brother," Karzai said in a speech in New Delhi.

"This strategic partnership ... is not directed against any country ... this strategic partnership is to support Afghanistan."

On a two-day visit to New Delhi, Karzai and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh sealed an agreement on Tuesday that spanned closer political ties to fighting terrorism.

It signals a formal tightening of links that may spark Pakistani concerns India is increasingly competing for leverage in Afghanistan.

The agreement with India is one of several being negotiated by Kabul, including one with the United States, that are part of an Afghan bid for greater security as NATO troops head home.

(Reporting by Alistair Scrutton; Writing by Paul de Bendern; Editing by Robert Birsel)