India is ready to deliver more arms to Afghanistan to help the nation fight against Islamist militants, Kabul’s envoy to New Delhi said.
In the last 15 years India has provided over $2 billion in economic assistance to Afghanistan. But to avoid the counter attack from Pakistan, India has been more measured in providing weapons to Afghanistan.
Last December New Delhi announced the supply of four attack helicopters to the government in Kabul. This was India’s first lethal equipment transfer to Afghanistan. Without any delay Kabul deployed three of the four Russian Mi-25 attack helicopters to go after militants. The fourth will be inducted in the next few weeks.
Afghan ambassador to India, Shaida Mohammad Abdali said regional security was worsening and Afghan national forces urgently need the arms to tackle the militant groups like Taliban, IS.
He told Reuters in an interview, “We are grateful for the four helicopters. But we need more, we need much more. Today we are heading into a situation that is worrisome for everyone in the region including India.”
Indian defense official said that the head of the Afghan army, General Qadam Shah Shahim is expected to come in New Delhi on Aug. 29 to submit a list of military equipment drawn up in consultation with the US military.
The equipments include Mi-25 helicopters, spares for existing Russian-origin aircraft in the Afghan air force fleet and smaller helicopters used for transporting troops and medical emergencies.
Abdali stated that the agenda for his coming is clear and “We will be finalizing the enhancement of defence ties.”
Though it is not clear how much would be paid for the equipments and how much would be handed over for free.
When it was asked about the closer military ties between India and Afghanistan, a spokesman from Pakistan Foreign ministry said that the government didn’t want to comment on two countries bilateral ties.
But he warned India, “Our expectation is that India should not be allowed to use Afghan soil to create instability in Pakistan.”
According to an Indian defence ministry official, this discussion with Afghanistan may increase the possibility to raise the number of Afghan officers being trained in Indian military instituitions each year from 800 now.
The US has allotted more than $68 billion to equip and train Afghan military forces since 2002. Earlier this month General John Nicholson who heads the US operation in Afghanistan encouraging India to boost military aids in Afghanistan. This became a major concern for Pakistan.