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India wants strategic ties with Afghanistan

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In order to scale down Pakistan’s uninterrupted say in Afghanistan, India has decided to provide arms to Afghanistan. Supply of infantry weapons to Afghanistan’s armed forces, police and paramilitary units with rifles, rocket launchers aimed at strengthening ties and at the same time curtailing Pakistan’s grip. The Strategic partnership was signed between President Hamid Karzai and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during Karzai’s recent visit to India. As per the agreement India will train Afghanistan’s armed forces and police. India has categorically denied any direct involvement of its armed forces in operations in Afghanistan but at the same time India wants to remain vigilant to thwart any attempt by Pakistan to forge closer ties with Kabul by providing arms. Presently, US-led forces have been training Afghan troops. President Karzai leaning towards India for strategic partnership is mainly because the American force is scheduled to pull back by 2014 and at the same time to caution Pakistan for its support to guerrillas in Afghanistan. This could be one of the reasons why Pakistan has turned towards India after keeping India at arms length on issues pertaining to security in Afghanistan. Now in order to maintain harmonious relation between Afghanistan and Pakistan Karzai sought to pacify Pakistan by saying Kabul considers Pakistan as a brother whereas India is a friend. Karzai also sought to clarify that his visit in no way targeted Pakistan and the relationship with Pakistan was intact, as it used to be in the past.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 November 2011 on page no. 13

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