[QODLink]
Central & South Asia

India offers more aid for Afghanistan

India announces more training and reconstruction aid, as Afghan president seeks help ahead of withdrawal of NATO troops.

Last Modified: 21 May 2013 20:48
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
India is helping the Afghan government rebuild its police forces, judiciary and diplomatic services [AP]

India has offered to provide more training and reconstruction aid for Afghanistan as most international troops prepare to withdraw next year.

President Pranab Mukherjee told visiting Afghan President Hamid Karzai that India was proud to help, a statement from Mukherjee's office said on Tuesday.

"India is prepared to increase bilateral contribution to institution-building, training and equipment to the extent India can," Mukherjee said. The statement did not say whether it would include military aid.

Aimal Faizi, Karzai’s spokesperson, earlier said that Afghanistan would ask for Indian help in the strengthening of its security forces ahead of the withdrawal of international forces.

Karzai also held talks with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh later on Tuesday.

"I think we should respond positively to Afghan requests for assistance to build the Afghan security forces," former Indian Ambassador to Afghanistan, Vivek Katju, told Al Jazeera from New Delhi.

"We already have a process of training the Afghan forces in India that can be stepped up, and if the Afghans require equipment to develop their capabilities... we should also have a positive response."

Strategic partnership

A 2011 strategic partnership agreement between the two countries includes Indian training of Afghan security forces. Small batches of Afghan soldiers are undergoing training at Indian military schools.

India has invested more than $2bn in Afghan infrastructure, including highways and hospitals and rural electricity projects. It is also helping the Afghan government rebuild its police forces, judiciary and diplomatic services.

New Delhi is hoping to gain some influence in the country after 2014, when Afghan forces are to become responsible for the entire country's security.

As NATO troops prepare to withdraw, India fears the possibility of the country falling into the hands of a Taliban-led regime, endangering many of India's interests there.

India, Afghanistan and Iran have been discussing how best to utilise the southeastern Iranian port of Chahbahar and develop road and rail links from there to Afghanistan.

For India, the shortest and most economical route for sending supplies to Afghanistan would be by road through Pakistan. But Pakistan, India's bitter rival, has denied New Delhi road access to Kabul, making the route through Iran all the more significant.

Karzai, who earned his college degree in India, has visited New Delhi more than a half dozen times in the past few years.

385

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Your chance to be an investigative journalist in Al Jazeera’s new interactive game.
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Featured
Private citizens take initiative to help 'irregular' migrants, accusing governments of excessive focus on security.
Indonesia's cassava plantations are being killed by mealybugs, and thousands of wasps will be released to stop them.
Violence in Ain al-Arab has prompted many Kurdish Syrians to flee to Turkey, but others are returning to battle ISIL.
Unelected representatives quietly iron out logistics of massive TPP and TTIP deals among US, Europe, and Asia-Pacific.
Led by students concerned for their future with 'nothing to lose', it remains to be seen who will blink first.