May 12 2012Shubhajit Roy - indianexpress.com
New Delhi - In a bid to expand its strategic footprint in Afghanistan in the post-2014 phase, India is set to give three helicopters to the Afghan security forces, and to train Afghan policemen in Indian training institutions.
These discussions took place at the first Joint Working Group on Political and Security Consultations held on April 30 between Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai and Deputy Foreign Minister of Afghanistan, Jawed Ludin. The working group meeting took place a day ahead of the May 1 Partnership Council meeting held last week between External Affairs minister S M Krishna and Afghanistan foreign minister Zalmai Rassoul.
New Delhi has offered to increase the strength of police training slots in various police academies. Already, there are about 150 Afghan officers who are doing courses in different training facilities in the country. Delhi and Kabul have also discussed the way Afghanistan should structure its police forces.
Delhi is also in conversation with the Afghan national security forces on “refurbishing” their equipments.
On the political and security cooperation between the two sides, Afghan Foreign Minister Zalmai Rassoul had said that India is helping his country’s forces to prepare to prevent a resurgence of the Taliban after the US withdrawal.
“With India, we are continuing to discuss about training our officers, training national security forces, but also equipping, in the longer term, our security forces,” Rassoul had said last week.
Krishna had told Rassoul, after the talks last week, “We will continue to partner with the Afghan government to ensure that Afghanistan is a source of regional stability and does not become a target for extremist forces.”