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Afghan police to receive training in India: Abdali

Afghan police to receive training in India: Abdali

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Sep 23, 2017 - 20:12

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): Afghan Ambassador in New Delhi Shaida Mohammad Abdali has said his country wants to bring police officers to India for training.

During an interview with The Hindu, Abdali said: “We want to expand [the India-Afghanistaninfo-icon security partnership] training Afghan police officers in India.”

The envoy said “India has always been an excellent partner for all our capacity building programmes.”

“And we do have similarities in some of the aspects of the conflict we face, so Indian knowledge and experience is going to be very useful for us, especially in counter-terror, and counter-narcotic [programmes],” he added.

The ambassador’s comments come ahead of two separate high profile visits to Delhi next week by US Secretary of Defense James Mattis on Monday and Afghanistan Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah.

Mattis is expected to discuss the security situation in Afghanistan with Indian leaders as well as the US’s declared policy to shut down “safe havens for terror” in Pakistaninfo-icon.

Abdullah is expected later in the week for the first India-Afghanistan business and investment conference, which is sponsored by the US agency, USAIDinfo-icon.

 “This will be a good opportunity for India, Afghanistan and the US to develop their partnerships in Afghanistan. We are also going to hold a trilateral meeting [of officials from all three countries], where we will focus on further enhancing our cooperation in the economic and development field,” Abdali said.

He hoped Indian businessmen would see that investing in Afghanistan would “pay them back” in the region as well, once India completes the Chabahar port project in Iran which would connect to Afghanistan and Central Asia.

The Indian Ministry of Externalinfo-icon Affairs did not respond to requests for a comment on the plan to train Afghan police officers.

At present about 200 Afghan soldiers are trained at a time at the Indian Military Academy, including 130 cadets and about 30-40 officers.

The training of police officers, which India had first offered to Afghanistan in 2011, will be a significant step in security ties.

Last year, India sent Afghanistan four Russian-made Mi-25 helicopters, but has yet to concede to Afghan requests for more equipment, transport vehicles.

However, an agreement for Indian engineers to repair helicopters and to refurbish old aircraft presently non-functional has still not been finalized a year later.

Conceding the delay, the Afghan envoy said they understood India’s own capabilities to give Afghanistan more hardware were “constrained,” and Afghanistan was focusing on the US assurance of continued support for the next 4-5 years.

“Strategically speaking, we are now looking at building an army on this western model. The recent four Blackhawks (helicopters) is part of our long term plan, to have at least 200 aircraft in 2023,” Abdali told The Hindu, adding that India’s help is most essential during the “transition” from Soviet-era to US and NATOinfo-icon hardware.

Calling Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s recent comments that there was “zero” place for a military or political role for India in Afghanistan as “unfortunate,” Abdali said it represented an old “cold-war” era mindset, adding that “no country has the right to dictate or manipulate Afghanistan’s foreign policy.”

nh/ma

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