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India weighs up military assistance to Afghanistan

Discussion in 'International Relations' started by Virajith, Jun 7, 2013.

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  1. Virajith

    Virajith Captain SENIOR MEMBER

    Jun 1, 2011
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    India is being urged to take a more active role in Afghanistan in the wake of next year’s NATO withdrawal and deteriorating relations with Pakistan.President Hamid Karzai has formally requested New Delhi to provide military equipment, including sophisticated weapons, fighter planes, armoured vehicles, heavy artillery, and a range of other equipment among others.

    Afghanistan is bracing for a series of transitions beginning in 2014 – the pulling out of US troops and transfer of the security burden to Afghan forces, the likely end of Karzai’s presidency once his second term is over, and the doubtful prospects of a political resolution between the Afghan state and the Taliban.

    Though such demands from Afghanistan to India are not new, it is clear Kabul wants New Delhi to increase its presence in areas as the military and police training camps, small arms training and other areas in combat field.

    Lieutenant General Sawhney, former deputy chief of the Indian army and an expert on Afghanistan says India has big stakes.

    “All the changes that have taken place in Afghanistan in the last ten years, all these will only continue to stay,â€￾ he said.

    “The country can only progress if their security is guaranteed [and] India has a stake in ensuring that this country remains secure.

    “Their army is one of the primary guarantors of this security, so we will have to look into this – for the security of the region, for global security and our own security.â€￾

    Security expert Sushant Sareen says an increase in India’s involvement may be viewed with distrust by India’s regional rival and Afghanistan’s neighbour, Pakistan.

    “I think they will think it really amiss, but that should not be any reason for India not to help the legitimate government in Afghanistan for the kind of equipment they feel they require to keep the Taliban at bay,â€￾ he said.

    “If the Afghan government requires any equipment, I see no reason why we should not help them.â€￾

    India already provides limited military assistance to Afghanistan, mainly in the form of training Afghan security personnel, under the bilateral strategic partnership agreement of 2011.

    Foreign policy expert Sandeep Dikshit says India should stay this course.

    “I think the weapons should be given to the Afghans by those who are already working in Afghanistan – by which I mean ISAF – which means NATO weapons,â€￾ he said.

    “They will be more comfortable working with those weapons while India can carry on with training.

    “Training is seen as benign in nature, and it would really suit India to really train people, because given the state of relations with Pakistan, it would not be wise to stir up things in Afghanistan and raise Pakistan’s suspicions.â€￾

    Many Indians believe the Taliban took power in the 1990s with the help of Pakistan army.

    General Sawhney says transporting arms to Afghanistan is a decision that might trouble Pakistan, and force them to act.

    “If, suppose, they don’t take kindly to our supply of weapons, then they (Pakistan) in turn should give a guarantee of sorts to Afghanistan and the region that they will not repeat what they did in the 90s,â€￾ he said.

    “That is something which is incumbent upon them – this is a complicated problem, which despite all the goodwill, we want to project for Pakistan [that] the newly elected government cannot be wished away.â€￾

    India has invested more than $2 billion in Afghanistan – the largest amount of external aid given by India to any country.

    Most of this investment has been done in Afghanistan’s infrastructure, including construction of highways and hospitals, and electricity projects for rural areas.

    Security expert Sushant Sareen says Mr Karzai’s request is justifiable.

    “It is a different matter whether we feel we are up to supplying everything that he has asked for, fulfilling his wish list,â€￾ he said

    “That’s a different matter altogether – but as far the legitimacy of the request is concerned, I don’t think there can be any question about it.â€￾

    India weighs up military assistance to Afghanistan | idrw.org
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