NEW DELHI (Sputnik) — New Delhi has made it clear that it has no immediate plans of supplying weapons to the Afghan forces to help in the counter-offensive against the Taliban.
"We have no plans to supply weapons to Afghanistan. India's role will be limited to providing training to the Afghan security forces. Besides, India is already providing the medical support system to Afghan forces for the treatment of soldiers injured during operations," top sources in the Ministry of Defense told Sputnik on Monday.
After the recent visit of US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to India and Afghanistan, there were fresh speculations that India might agree to supply weapons to the insurgency-hit country as the US wants India to get more actively involved in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region.
"India will be an important partner in the effort to ensure peace and stability in Afghanistan. We welcome its role in supporting Afghanistan," the US Secretary of State said during his visit to India last week.
Rex Tillerson had also assured India that the US will continue to strengthen India's capability to provide security throughout the region as a leading power.
"In the changing Asian geopolitical situation, the US wants India to play a major role in the Indo-Pacific region. In fact, the US wants India to increase its sphere of influence in the region, especially in Afghanistan since the US wants to reduce the influence of Pakistan and China in the region. One of the objectives of Rex Tillerson's recent visit to India was to put pressure on the Indian government to toe to their line. But India has a clear and precise Afghanistan policy. India's policy is more focused towards capacity-building of Afghan defense forces," Major General (Rtd) A K Siwach told Sputnik.
Last year, Afghanistan formally requested India to hand over some of its most lethal weapons including the 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. When the Afghan Army Chief General Qadam Shah Shamim visited New Delhi in August 2016, he handed over a list of weapons including the Russian made attack and utility helicopters, artillery, ammunition, tanks and "trainer" vehicles to the Indian authorities. The list was reportedly prepared in consultation with the United States.