It’s Upto India to Decide on its Role in Afghanistan: US

An American army defence officer has said that the US has not asked for Indian troop deployment in Afghanistan and it is upto New Delhi to take a decision about possible military role in that country.

While praising India’s ‘rebuilding role’ in Afghanistan, Admiral Robert F Wilard, who heads the US Pacific Command, said: “We have not sought any ground level cooperation (deployment) from India. We are happy with India’s rebuilding role in Afghanistan.”

“It (deployment of Indian troops in Afghanistan) is for Indian military and establishment to decide,” he added.

He reiterated that the US interest lies in ‘succeeding in Afghanistan and stabilizing Pakisatn’. The US has announced addition of 30,000 troops in Afghanistan and has envisaged boosting of the Afghan National Army.

“This (sending of more troops to Afghanistan) will start but there is no end date on the withdrawal of troops,” said Willard.

He had meeting with chiefs of all three wings of defence services of India on Thursday, Army chief General Deepak Kapoor, Navy chief Admiral Nirmal Verma and Air Force vice chief Air Marshal PK Barbora Thursday. Also, he met Defence Secretary Pradeep Thakur.

It may be mentioned that India has rule out possibility of sending troops to Afghanistan on many earlier occasions but has been providing developmental and medical aid as mandated by the United Nations.

India’s military interaction with Afghanistan has been through training its military officers in the National Defence Academy here. It also runs a medical facility in Afghanistan staffed by army doctors. It has also posted instructors to teach English and martial music to Afghan soldiers and officers.

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