NEW DELHI: From the approach of a “cautious sage person”, India has come a long way to provide military aid to war-ravaged Afghanistan, said former president of the country Hamid Karzai on Saturday.
The Afghan leader recalled how India had refused to help Afghanistan militarily when the latter came up with a wish-list of military equipment.
“We have always said that India should have been bolder in providing military equipment and training to Afghanistan. India was like a cautious sage person and refused to provide military aid saying we do not want to aggravate things with Pakistan in Afghanistan,” recounted Karzai. Since then, China has moved in to equip the Afghan military. But the former president said that China’s engagement in the war-torn country is not as deep as India’s.
The new Narendra Modi-led government has made a shift in the policy by de-hyphenating Afghanistan from Pakistan and providing military help to Afghanistan. Earlier this year, the Afghan Air Force had inducted three of four Mi-25 helicopters supplied by India. It was the first time that the Indian Government had supplied lethal military equipment to Afghanistan.
The former president also appreciated India’s help in socio-economic sector.
President Karzai also praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his stand on Balochistan. Karzai, who governed the war-ravaged country during its difficult times, said that Afghanistan has been suffering from the Balochistan problem which he called “a legacy of the British”.
“The issue of Balochis is something we understand and therefore I appreciate the remarks of Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” Karzai said in response to a question if Afghanistan has been affected by the recent developments. “We commiserate with the people of Balochistan,” Karzai added. The former president of Afghanistan was referring to Modi’s remarks from the ramparts of the Red Fort on the Indian Independence Day.
Karzai also termed the Islamic State active in the North Eastern Afghanistan as a foreign phenomenon.
“Talibans are Afghans…. But ‘Daesh’ (a derogatory name by which most Muslim countries have been referring to the Islamic State) in Afghanistan is not the result of Afghan circumstances. It is run by agency beyond our borders. It is a sinister tool,” said the former president.
“No one should be fooled that you can use it and later disown it. Pakistan did it earlier and paid for it. So my advice is ‘Stop it’. Do not promote it,” he added.