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India may promise more arms to Afghanistan during Ghani’s visit

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Kabul is desperate for military hardware for firepower and support in the face of increasing violence

India is all set to scale up its military assistance to Afghanistan.

According to officials, the stepped up assistance is likely to be announced during the visit of President Ashraf Ghani next week. “A list of urgent requirements has already been handed over to which the Indian response has been positive. It will be discussed and cleared during Mr. Ghani’s visit,” diplomatic sources told The Hindu.

Mr. Ghani is expected in Delhi next Monday.

Changed policy

India, which has shied away from supplying lethal weapons to foreign militaries, changed its policy last year with the supply of four Mi-25 attack helicopters. Following this, Afghanistan, in desperate for military hardware for firepower and support in the face of increasing violence, has sought additional assistance from India. The requirements were handed over to the Indian side last week during the visit of the Chief of Afghan National Army General Qadam Shah Shahim.

Priority items on the list include utility and attack helicopters, artillery, ammunition and spares in addition help in reviving some of the Soviet era factories in Afghanistan. However, on spares and revival India has to coordinate with Russia.

While India seems to be more open in supplying lethal hardware, the equipment largely being of Russian hardware needs technical support from Moscow. This was evident in the case of Mi-25 helicopters with one of the promised four still grounded due to lack of spares which have to come from Russia.

A diplomatic source said efforts were on for a three-way discussions and this was expected to come up for discussion during Mr. Ghani’s bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

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Printable version | Dec 12, 2019 2:24:03 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/India-may-promise-more-arms-to-Afghanistan-during-Ghani%E2%80%99s-visit/article14628809.ece

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