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Afghanistan to ask India for military aid

KABUL, Afghanistan An aide to Afghan President Hamid Karzai says he will seek military aid from India during a three-day visit this week. Karzai's trip comes during escalating border tension with Pakistan, India's archrival.

Karzai spokesman Aimal Faizi says the president will discuss recent border skirmishes with Pakistan when he visits New Delhi starting Monday. He added that Karzai would seek Indian help in "strengthening of our security forces."

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The visit could irk Pakistan, which suspects its rival India of seeking influence in Afghanistan, which Pakistan considers its own backyard.

Analyst Wadir Safi says the timing of Karzai's India trip is likely related to recent border skirmishes with Pakistan. Each side has been accusing the other of firing across the border.

Meanwhile, just weeks after a tense border standoff, China's new premier visited India on Sunday on his first foreign trip as the neighboring giants look to speed up efforts to settle a decades-old boundary dispute and boost economic ties.

China says Premier Li Keqiang's choice of India for his first trip abroad since taking office in March shows the importance Beijing attaches to improving relations with New Delhi.

"We think very highly of this gesture because it is our view that high-level political exchanges between our two countries are an important aspect and vehicle for our expanded cooperation," said India's external affairs ministry spokesman, Syed Akbaruddin.

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