Afghan army chief to visit India

Afghan army chief to visit India

Afghan army chief to visit India

Afghan Army chief Gen Qadam Shah Shahim will visit New Delhi early next week — at a time when India is planning to step up its military support to Afghanistan.

Gen Shahim will meet his Indian counterpart, Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag. He is also likely to call on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar.

The visit comes shortly after the US publicly encouraged India to step up military support for Afghanistan.

 His visit is likely to provide New Delhi and Kabul an opportunity to discuss India’s supply of both lethal and non-lethal military hardware to Afghanistan in order to help the Afghan National Army fight Taliban and Islamic State.

More support

Sources here said that Kabul expected New Delhi to be more forthcoming in offering military support to Afghanistan.

Kabul already conveyed to New Delhi its request for a range of weapons and defence equipments, in addition to the MI-25 attack helicopters already provided by India.

New Delhi, for years, kept its military support to the conflict-hit country limited to providing training to officials and soldiers of the Afghan National Army and supply of non-lethal defence hardware.

 It was in December 2015 that India provided MI-25 helicopters to give some teeth to the newly revived Afghan Air Force. So far, India provided three choppers to Afghanistan, while the fourth one is likely to be inducted soon.
Pakistan, which is keen to have a “strategic depth” in its western neighbourhood, has been jittery about India’s role in Afghanistan.

Militant organisations based in Pakistan carried out several attacks on India’s diplomatic missions in Afghanistan.

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