India afghanistan: Doval to meet Afghan NSA in Delhi tomorrow


NEW DELHI: National Security Advisers (NSAs) of India and Afghanistan will meet in Delhi on Friday to discuss the security situation in Afghanistan and explore ways to enhance security partnership including supply of military hardware as the United States plans to withdraw its troops.

India is considering supplying additional military hardware to Afghanistan to help it combat terrorists, according to people aware of the matter. They said this issue would be discussed when AK Doval meets his Afghan counterpart, Hamdullah Mohib. While Afghan army officers undergo training in India on a regular basis, India had earlier also supplied Afghan armed forces with four Russian-made helicopters.

Withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan, even if it is a small fraction of the total troops, would create a political and military vacuum, said experts. They said that coupled with the Trump administration’s efforts of reconciliation with the Taliban, the emerging situation would work to India’s disadvantage. Pakistan Army’s back door entry in Kabul is a given if the Taliban return to power or in a power-sharing arrangement, they said.

Last month, US President Donald Trump announced that he had directed to bring back half of the 14,000 American troops in Afghanistan, even as the 17-year-old war continues and the Taliban threaten large parts of the landlocked country. The US reconciliation efforts with the Taliban have coincided with China’s efforts to create a China-Pakistan-Afghanistan triangle to safeguard its interests and extend its Belt and Road Initiative to Afghanistan.

India, while continuing to engage the US over Afghanistan, is exploring initiatives with Russia to safeguard its interests in Afghanistan. The Afghan situation was at the top of the agenda when Doval met his Russian counterpart, Nikolai Patrushev, in Delhi last month. That meeting was followed by the visit of Russian presidential envoy to Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov. Earlier, Indian delegates were on the same table with the Taliban in the ‘Moscow format’ of talks, a Russian initiative on Afghanistan.


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