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Updated: October 5, 2011 12:51 IST

India to train Afghan forces

Sandeep Dikshit
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Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai during a meeting at the Hyderabad House in New Delhi on Tuesday. Photo: R.V. Moorthy
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai during a meeting at the Hyderabad House in New Delhi on Tuesday. Photo: R.V. Moorthy

Hamid Karzai, Manmohan Singh sign Strategic Partnership Agreement

In a major development, India has agreed to mentor the Afghan security forces as they gear up to deal with the drawdown of foreign forces by 2014.

The proposal has been on the drawing board for six years since Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai first suggested it, but was not implemented as Pakistan was uncomfortable with the idea of India-trained forces on both its flanks.

The proposal to train the Afghan National Security Forces was included in the first-ever Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) signed on Tuesday by Mr. Karzai and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during their third extensive meeting this year.

India has started stepping up its exposure to the security scenario in Afghanistan by operationalising an airbase in Tajikistan, which has since been used to strike at the top leadership of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. It has also sought permission to reopen a hospital at Farkhor on the Afghan border.

The two sides would also cooperate more closely at the United Nations, one of the objectives being to help India gain a permanent seat on the Security Council.

In addition to dealing with political and security cooperation aspects, the SPA spells out trade and economic cooperation in much greater detail, covering aspects ranging from assisting Afghanistan in developing trading routes to exploring for hydrocarbons and mineral ores the country is abundantly endowed with.

This means both countries will try to operationalise their trilateral MoU signed with Iran to end Afghanistan's landlocked isolation and dependence on Pakistan to reach the sea. It brightens India's chances of bagging a lucrative mining contract for Hajigak, said to be the region's largest untapped reserve of iron ore, and provides an opportunity to hunt for oil in northern Afghanistan. Two MoUs — one in the field of mineral exploration and the other for the development of hydrocarbons — reflected the interest of both sides in these areas.

Releasing the SPA in four languages — Hindi, Pashto, Dari and English — the two sides also resolved to create a favourable trading and investment environment by simplifying customs and other procedures, starting air cargo operations and improving credit and insurance facilities.

As Dr. Singh and Mr. Karzai made it clear, the pact would not be directed against any state or a group of states.

“The agreement on a Strategic Partnership creates an institutional framework for our future cooperation in the fields of political and security , trade and economic cooperation, capacity building and education, and social, cultural, civil society and people-to-people relations,” Dr. Singh explained in his statement to the media at the signing ceremony at the Hyderabad House.

Mr. Karzai's visit comes in the wake of the high-profile assassinations of the former Afghan President, Burhanuddin Rabbani, and Kandahar Provincial Council chief Ahmad Wali Karzai when they were engaged in the peace process.

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India should take part in the training of afgan forces< fristly because it is our duty as a major power in the region. And far as pakistans paranoia is concerned that is up to pakistan to deal with. lastly it is time India shows that it is ready to be a super power by bringing stability in the troubled region.

from:  linford
Posted on: Jan 5, 2012 at 06:04 IST

India has always under estimated and lost opportunities to gain the support of its neighbors. Today we enjoy the trust and support of Afghanistan and Bangladesh more because of those countries than India's influence. India lost the opportunity to win over Nepal which is now inclined more towards China. Even a hopeless nation like Burma / Myanmar is inclined towards China giving China the advantage in its aggressive strategy towards India. India almost lost SriLanka too. It is high time India won back the trust of Nepal and SriLanka.

from:  SaiPrasad Chennai
Posted on: Oct 7, 2011 at 11:21 IST

Ita good news

from:  pandit
Posted on: Oct 7, 2011 at 09:16 IST

A bold step by India to go ahead and train Afgans.Dr.Manmohan Singh, I trust him on taking steps in India interest.People can have different opinions about the pact but consider a situation after 2014,if there is nobody to fill the void left by NATO guess who will....we don't want to see a Kandahar episode repeat again.This pact has to be structurally and morally sound to practically work.We should not commit same mistakes that Soviet Union did, we should develop infrastructure education and some sense of nationhood in that war torn country otherwise this no mans land could threaten the entire world.We need to tread carefully and I trust Dr.Manmohan and Mr.Chidambaram in taking all steps necessary to secure India and our interests.

from:  Prem
Posted on: Oct 7, 2011 at 09:08 IST

Finally, India is doing what is right! An insecure Pakistan can hardly deal with its own problems and what it exports to its neighbours is terror. The US and Nato troops will leave soon and Afghanistan has to be strong enough to deal with trouble from Pakistan. There is little doubt that trade between India and Afghanistan and beyond with Central Asia will open trade routes through Pakistan, which alone will be the solution. Economic meltdown in Pakistan, thanks to the Military sucking the Country dry, is the root cause. India/Afghanistan agreements will help the entire region,including Pakistan

from:  gita
Posted on: Oct 5, 2011 at 20:31 IST

This is one of the major steps which will boost the Indo-Afghan relations to the further heights. It is not targeted against any one. This would definitely make our country to gain advantage in gaining the support from different corners from Asia to achieve permanent seat in the UN security council which must be given to the largest democratic country in the world and one of the emerging super power.

from:  Dr.C.S.Reddy
Posted on: Oct 5, 2011 at 18:57 IST

It is good for our country but we should live alert because terrorist would not like it and they will attack on indians . And also PAK will in support of terrorist.

from:  Purkha ram
Posted on: Oct 5, 2011 at 18:23 IST

The helplessness of Mr Karzai was exposed when his powerful brother was assassinated earlier this year.He was only nursing this loss when the Taliban struck yet again to eliminate his closest associate who was governor in a nearby province.The worst happened only last week when his trouble shooter was killed in a suicide attack.Mr Karzai is now left high and dry with not even Kabul safe for him and in proportional measure safe for ISAF including United States Of America.He as well as Americans are blaming Pakistan for what is their own failure even after using all they had in their political or military Armour for the last ten years.To settle scores on this account the US has advised their stooge to tease Pakistan by their old rhetoric of fixing Pakistan on both East and Western fronts by their arch rival India.It seems India is falling into the trap.Time is witness that Afgans don't trade their pride.If so are Indians sure that Hamid Karzai is in real command?

from:  Er S D Shangloo
Posted on: Oct 5, 2011 at 14:46 IST

This will be the most challenging job -- if India and Afghanistan want to come together for progressive development, everyone should applaud it. Let's hope this step takes war-ravaged Afghanistan towards some stability -- all the destruction in Afghanistan has been because of greed of USA-Pakistan and others.

from:  Yashwanth P
Posted on: Oct 5, 2011 at 12:57 IST

Things will be good for india only if peace and prosperity prevails in our neighbourhood. This is a good beginning wothout appearing to interfere in the internal affairs of the country

from:  krishnan
Posted on: Oct 5, 2011 at 12:38 IST

The very title of this news report is enough to get Pakistani top brass paranoid. At least this is not what they were hoping for especially after the Afghan president Mr. Hamid Karzai expressed his lack of faith in peace talks with the Taliban and assertion that they must negotiate with Pakistan to bring about peace in their war-torn land few days back. India's contribution in this regard has always been positive and inspiring and the proposal to train the Afghan National Security Forces marks another step forward in the India-Afghanistan bonhomie. This also shows the amount of trust Indians enjoy of the Afghan people particularly in the context of their growing suspicion and dissatisfaction regarding Pakistan's activities.

from:  Mukul Kanti Dutta
Posted on: Oct 5, 2011 at 11:20 IST

Looking at grimly tense and unstable situation in Afghanistan, this is the pact which will again stir the hornet's nest. Looking at Pakistan apprehensions towards Indian presence in Afghanistan.It's not a unknown fact Pakistan has strategic as well as diplomatic interest in the region, and the proxy war it wage again Afghanistan is to secure its interest in the region.Since, now India also trying to increase it's presence in the region by entering in the SPA with Afghanistan,we have to wait and watch how the situation will unfold itself when U.S.
withdraw its troops out by 2014.There will be a struggle among
regional forces to fill the vacuum created.Hence, it provide India
with an opportunity significantly secure its interest in the region
and also improve its tie with like Iran which took a backseat earlier.

from:  Deepak Meena
Posted on: Oct 5, 2011 at 10:04 IST

Congratulations to our Prime Minister for his bold initiative on Afganistan. If you remember the situation in South Asia then this feat of our Prime minister can be compared to our Army's brave initiative on siachen.

from:  Anil P.
Posted on: Oct 5, 2011 at 10:02 IST

Marhaba! A Step in right direction and hopefully a new dawn of peace will start in Afghanistan.

from:  Kanha
Posted on: Oct 5, 2011 at 10:00 IST

I do not see why Indian soldiers' lives need to be put in danger to train the army of a failed state and its sinking neighbour.

from:  Bhajan Chandrasekharan
Posted on: Oct 5, 2011 at 09:06 IST

It is a very good initiative by both the countries. It is mutually beneficial and this SPA would be a landmark agreement in the long run form both countries' perspectives.

from:  Amit Kumar
Posted on: Oct 5, 2011 at 08:11 IST

India has to think twice about training Afghan forces. US is already training the Afghanistan forces. We should restrict ourselves to the civil sectors and can take part in the reconstruction of Afghanistan and should not involve in its military training. We must concentrate on modernizing our own security forces both internal and external security. All the outstanding border issues with our neighbouring countries China, Pakistan should be amicably solved as early as possible in the fast changing world scenario to facilitate peaceful co-existence. It is in the interest of India to bridge cultural relations with China using Budhism. Simultaneously, we should try to solve the so called Kashmir problem soonest possible so that the next generation can live peacefully. Pakistan is the only muslim country having more indian culture.

from:  VVRao
Posted on: Oct 5, 2011 at 06:20 IST

Now we are talking some serious business! May be one good thing done by this Congress government and their administration.

from:  Nick
Posted on: Oct 5, 2011 at 03:43 IST

Agreements in trade and mining are fine but the one about training Afghan security forces may invite further paranoia in Pakistan.A pact to train Afghan forces by India will attract attention which India can ill afford when even the US is struggling to deal with. India is perhaps better off strengthening ties with Northern Alliance and beef up their ability to resist an eventual Taliban takeover of Kabul after the US departs from southern Afghanistan, building road and rail network to Iranian port for eventual export of iron ore or other mineral from the area, and help build economy of Northern Afghan region in consultation with Russia, The US, Iran and Central Asian countries.

from:  Jitdendra Dutta
Posted on: Oct 5, 2011 at 03:30 IST
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