NEW DELHI: Encouraged by the lifting of the self-imposed embargo of India against supplying military equipment to Afghanistan, Afghan National Army chief of staff general Qadam Shah Shaheem will be visiting New Delhi next week with a bigger wish list for military aid.
The previous Manmohan Singh government had stuck to long-term policy of not providing military equipment to Afghanistan for fear of agitating Pakistan. Since then, China has readily stepped in to fulfill the gap. “The fourth Russian-built Mi-25 helicopter is almost ready for delivery. We have showed our commitment to the capacity building of the Afghan forces,” a source in the government said. General Shaheem is likely to pressure India for more Mi-25 helicopters, small choppers and other equipment. Three of the four promised Mi-25 helicopters were handed over by Modi to Afghanistan in December 2015. The shift in policy was the result of India dehyphenating the relationship with Afghanistan from Pakistan and for the first time transferring lethal military equipment to Kabul. India trains nearly 800 Afghan soldiers in different defence establishments every year. The US, which is on a drawdown from the country after one-and-a-half decades of war, has been exhorting New Delhi to step up its military assistance to Kabul. China has also been active in providing military aid to Afghanistan.