India to provide choppers to Afghanistan

India to provide choppers to Afghanistan

India will provide helicopters to war-torn Afghanistan “very soon”, said External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid on Saturday, months after Afghan President Hamid Karzai sought lethal weapons from the country.

“We are giving them helicopters and we will be supplying them very soon,” Khurshid told reporters accompanying him on a day-long visit to the Afghan city of Kandahar, where he inaugurated an agricultural university built with Indian aid.

“We have also been giving them some logistical support and we hopefully will be able to upgrade and refurbish their transport aircraft,” he said.

Khurshid did not specify the number or type of helicopters to be provided to Afghanistan.
Karzai had sought military aid and equipment from India during a visit to New Delhi in December. “Afghanistan is very special and up till now wherever they felt they need (something), we have been giving them,” Khurshid said. “I think it is consistent with our approach – building capacity, providing training. That seems to be going well. Ultimately it is what we mutually agree and is within our capacity to supply.”

With Afghanistan set for presidential elections ahead of the withdrawal of US troops, India extended its full support for a reconciliation process involving people of the war-torn country.  India will also continue to assist the Afghan National Security Forces, which will play an important role in “this year of political and security transition”, said Khurshid in Kandahar.

He was speaking after jointly inaugurating with President Hamid Karzai Afghanistan’s first national agriculture university, built with Indian aid. India has pledged to invest up to $8 million in the Afghan National Agricultural Sciences and Technology University.

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