New Delhi: Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai held talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday.

The two leaders discussed the situation in the region in the backdrop of Afghanistan's keenness to enhance defence cooperation with India and get supply of "lethal and non-lethal" weapons.

Karzai, who arrived in Chandigarh on Monday to receive a 'Doctorate – Honoris Causa' by a private university, held talks on various key bilateral and regional issues with Singh who also hosted a dinner for the visiting dignitary at his official residence.

"The visit is indicative of the strong and close relations that we have with Afghanistan and the frequent contacts between the senior leaders of the two countries," the spokesperson in the Ministry of External Affairs had said ahead of Karzai's visit.

When asked about Afghanistan Ambassador Shaida M Abdali to India's demand for an enhanced bilateral defence cooperation and supply of lethal and non-lethal military equipment, the spokesperson said India was ready to discuss and consider Afghanistan's request for arms supplies.

Terming Afghanistan as a "strategically important" neighbour, the spokesperson said the two countries had mechanisms available to address all issues under Strategic Partnership Agreement.

"Our view is that there is a mechanism available and all issues are discussed under this mechanism. And within our own modest means as a developing country, we will continue to discuss and respond to specific requests of the Afghan government," he said.

Demanding enhanced defence cooperation from India, which currently gives training to Afghans in capacity-building, Abdali had said, "Training is most welcome. Other assistance in small stages is most welcome.....but we would like to go beyond the current trend of co-operation between the two countries in the defence sector.”

Earlier in the day, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said, "It would be a very important opportunity for our Prime Minister to be briefed on developments which have happened, which were of course discussed at Istanbul conference but getting it directly from the President himself."

"We already have a strategic partnership and within that strategic agreement, we are already doing capacity-building, giving them non-lethal military hardware, communication, transport equipment,” he said.

"He (Karzai) may have a wish list and with which he may go to our Prime Minister but these are ongoing...which will all be discussed within the parameters of what our capacity is, what our philosophy is, we would help them as a friend," Khurshid said when asked about Afghanistan's keenness to get supply of lethal weapons from India.

(JPN/Agencies)

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