Karzai’s push for lethal weapons worries India

  • Jayanth Jacob, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Dec 10, 2013 01:26 IST

Despite a renewed push from Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai for deepening defence ties, India is extremely cautious on the issue with the discussion on the supply of lethal weapons likely to be done by the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) soon.

According to senior officials, India is treading a cautious path even as Kabul has again raised the pitch for deeper military ties — that includes supply of tanks and artillery guns — citing domestic constraints and geo-political fallouts.

President Hamid Karzai, who on his 14th visit to India, is set to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on December 13 with a wide-ranging agenda including Kabul’s talks with Washington for a bilateral security pact and cooperation on the Chabahar port in Iran.

India is open to sending more military technicians, training of personnel and supplying of key elements in supporting equipments, transportation vehicles like trucks and jeeps.

Also, India is ready to give M-17 helicopters, though no agreement on this is expected during Karzai’s visit.

The reasons being cited are India having no “excess of military equipments” and the complex “licensing and end-use qualifications” that guide India’s almost import-dependent military supplies.

However, Afghanistan has been urging that India should take a more active role in as it is in India’s interest that Kabul is equipped to clamp down on the extremists.

Karzai had sought deeper defence cooperation during his previous visit to India.

With over $2 billion assistance programme, India has been playing an active role in the reconstruction of war-torn Afghanistan.

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