India has turned down Afghanistan’s request for supply of lethal weapons, saying it was neither in a position nor willing to contribute lethal weapons right now, days after Afghan President Hamid Karzai raised the issue with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
“We are going to help with non-lethal equipment but I don’t think we are either in the position to or willing to contribute lethal weapons right now,” External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said here.
Noting that India already supplies important elements of supporting equipment, transportation, which includes helicopters, the minister said “...we think it is not advisable to go beyond that. It is a fragile area, there are stakeholders, there are other people. We don’t want to become part of the problem.”
During his recent visit to India, Mr. Karzai had handed a “wish list” to Indian leadership seeking greater military and civilian support in the wake of proposed withdrawal of US-led forces from Afghanistan in 2014.
Mr. Khurshid, in an interview to Straits Times, said there are lots of people who have perceptions about the future of Afghanistan and “if we can help Afghanistan without creating further problems for them, I think that would be a preferred way to do it.”
He said, “We are in touch with them constantly, and we are committed and have said very categorically... We are not looking at exit routes for ourselves which means we are there to stay for a long term. We are very comforted by the fact that Afghans have confidence in us. We won’t let them down.”