Karzai gives military ‘wish list’ to Indians
NEW DELHI - Reuters
Afghan President Karzai (L) shakes hand with Indian PM Singh. Karzai has given a list of military equipment to India, which is likely to alarm its foe, Pakistan. AFP photoAfghan President Hamid Karzai said yesterday he had given a “wish list” of military equipment to India during a visit this week, presenting a conundrum for New Delhi as it weighs whether arming the Afghan army is in its interests.
“We have a wish list that we have put before the government of India,” Karzai said, adding that it was up to India to decide how much help it was prepared to give Afghanistan. He would not say what was on the list, but India’s firstpost.com website said it included 105 mm artillery, medium-lift aircraft, bridge-laying equipment and trucks.
The Indian government had no immediate comment on Karzai’s statement. Karzai’s spokesman said both countries had agreed not to discuss the contents of the shopping list. An Indian government official said earlier that India had already provided some military equipment to Afghanistan but he declined to give details. He said he was surprised that Afghanistan was speaking openly about a weapons request.
India wants to stabilize Afghanistan and is concerned about the resurgence of militant groups after foreign combat troops leave in 2014. But arming Afghanistan would alarm Pakistan. It takes issue with the influence of its old rival in Afghanistan. India does not want to get drawn into a proxy war with Pakistan, which has ties to the Taliban. India and Afghanistan signed a strategic partnership agreement in 2011 under which New Delhi agreed to assist in the training and equipping of Afghan security forces.