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Karzai says Afghanistan's strategic partnerships with India, US don't threaten neighbors
ADDU, Maldives (AP) ' Afghan President Hamid Karzai attempted to ease tensions with Pakistan on Thursday, asserting that a strategic partnership with India and talks for a similar deal with the United States do not threaten his country's neighbors.
Pakistan had reacted angrily to the India deal announced last month that many in Islamabad fear would increase its archenemy's influence in Afghanistan.
The pact, the first Afghanistan has signed with any country, included provisions for India to help train and equip Afghan security forces.
Some feared Pakistan could respond by ramping up its alleged support for Afghan insurgents to ensure that its own influence in its neighboring country did not wane.
Karzai told leaders of South Asian nations at a regional summit in the Maldives that the India agreement along with talks it was holding with the United States for another strategic partnership were intended to promote peace.
"I wish to reassure our neighbors ... that none of our partnerships we forge now or in the future shall pose a threat to our neighbors or to our region," he said.
India and Pakistan have fought three wars since they became independent from Britain in 1947, and Pakistan is sensitive to any signs India could be gaining an upper hand in the region.
Pakistan is also under increasing U.S. pressure to cut ties with militants who could be potential allies against Indian influence in Afghanistan once Washington withdraws its combat troops in 2014.