India delivers two Mi-24 attack choppers to Afghanistan
India on Thursday delivered two Mi-24 attack helicopters to Afghanistan to strengthen its air force and support Kabul’s fight against the Taliban, officials said.Updated: May 16, 2019 22:31 IST
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
India on Thursday delivered two Mi-24 attack helicopters to Afghanistan to strengthen its air force and support Kabul’s fight against the Taliban, officials said.
The choppers will boost the capability of the Afghan air force and enhance its effectiveness in combating terrorism, the Indian embassy in Kabul said in a statement. India is expected to deliver two more Mi-24s to Afghanistan later this year.
“Two more of the same type will be purchased and supplied to the Afghan Air Force in order to make the area operations more effective,” acting Afghan defence minister Asadullah Khalid tweeted after receiving the helicopters. Indian ambassador to Kabul Vinay Kumar handed over the choppers to Khalid at the Kabul air force base.
Hindustan Times first reported in March 2018 that Belarus and India had inked a trilateral pact with Afghanistan to supply refurbished Mi-24 helicopters to the Afghan air force.
“The attack helicopters will boost the offensive power of the Afghan forces. The choppers will be a great asset to the Afghan air force in Kabul’s fight against terrorism,” said Air Vice Marshal Manmohan Bahadur (retd), additional director general, Centre for Air Power Studies.
This is only the second instance of India supplying lethal military equipment to Afghanistan. India had provided four Mi-24s to the Afghan armed forces during 2015-16, marking a significant shift from its earlier position of supplying only non-lethal equipment. However, some of the helicopters provided earlier had been grounded because of lack of spares.
India has committed $3 billion in aid to Afghanistan since 2001, when the Taliban were removed from power. It has also trained personnel from the Afghan National Security Forces and Afghan National Police.
First Published: May 16, 2019 22:31 IST