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    An Afghan soldier walks past Indian donated helicopters to Afghanistan at the Kabul airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, Friday, Dec. 25, 2015

    Wish List: Afghanistan Turns to India for Supplies and Equipment

    © AP Photo / Rahmat Gul
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    Afghanistan has prepared a list of lethal military equipment it wishes to acquire from India as military assistance but there are plenty of reasons why India will not be able to grant the wish without Russia's support.

    NEW DELHI (Sputnik) — Afghanistan wants India to transfer some of its most lethal weapons, including Russian-made Mi-25 and Mi-35 aircraft, to the fledgling Afghan National Army and also to assist in the restoration of its Soviet-era tank and ammunition factories. 

    Afghanistan's Army Chief General Qadam Shah Shamim expects to hand over the list to Indian authorities during his upcoming visit to New Delhi, which starts August 29. According to sources, the list was prepared after a consultation with the US Army. In addition to attack and utility helicopters, the list also includes artillery, ammunition, tanks and 'trainer' vehicles. 

    However, many within the Indian establishment are questioning whether it would be wise of India to fulfill Afghanistan's demands. Official sources told Sputnik that the Indian government is not very keen and that any announcement to this effect is most unlikely during the Afghan Army Chief's upcoming visit.

    Brigadier V Mahalingam (Retd), a defense & security analyst, says, "India may finance military equipment for Afghanistan as it did in May 2014 for military equipment sourced from Russia. Providing military hardware will, however, have to be based on an assessment of the possibility of this equipment being pilfered by militant sympathizers within the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces or land in their hands."

    Last year in December, India had agreed to supply four Mi-24/25 attack helicopters to Afghanistan. Three helicopters have been delivered to Afghanistan but the fourth helicopter is awaiting repair, for which spare parts have to come from Russia. On August 11, Gen John W Nicholson, Commander of the US Forces in Afghanistan, urged India to supply the spare parts to Afghanistan.

    "I cannot speak for the Afghan government. But I know that they have requested more and would like more and I think there is an immediate need for more as these aircraft can immediately get into the fight." Analysts say that Russia's role becomes equally important in this equation as spare parts for such helicopters are only available within Russia. 

    Nevertheless, India has maintained that it remains committed to the reconstruction of Afghanistan. During the recent inauguration of the renovated Stor Palace in Kabul, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a video conference, "Let me assure the people of Afghanistan that in your quest to build a prosperous Afghanistan and to bring peace, security and stability to your society; the 1.25 billion people of India will always be on your side. The pledge of our partnership and strength of our friendship with Afghanistan is unwavering." 

    For the last 15 years, India has mainly focused on civil construction and development work in Afghanistan. During this period, India committed more than USD 2 billion for such work. 


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