India to help strengthen Afghan security forces
NEW DELHI (PAN): India is committed to building strengthening Afghan security forces, Defence Minister AK Antony assured his visiting Afghan counterpart Gen. Abdul Rahim Wardak on Wednesday.
During hour-long delegation-level talks, Antony said as a longstanding friend of the Afghan people, India remained "fully committed" to supporting that country in its reconstruction and development efforts.
He conveyed New Delhi's willingness to work with the Afghan government in building the capabilities of its security forces in accordance with Kabul's priorities.
Both sides noted that terrorism continued to pose a threat to all countries in the region and emphasised the need to ensure cessation of support to such organisations in the interest of peace and development.
Antonysaid his country attached great importance to stronger bilateral relations with Afghanistan, as was evidenced in the multifaceted ties between the two governments.
Gen. Wardak, heading a seven-member delegation, conveyed the appreciation of Afghanistan's people and government for the friendship and support they were shown by Indians.
There have been periodic military exchanges between the two countries since Wardak last visited India in April 2008. Afghan Chief of General Staff Gen. Sher Mohammad Karimi visited India in October last year.
Wardak told reporters in Delhi ahead of the meeting: "We will welcome any cooperation in the field of training and helping our national security forces to be able to defend their country."
He added they would discuss military equipment supplies to Afghanistan by India. "We have a very genuine interest in strengthening our relations in all different sectors, including defence."
Wardak's visit marks another step in the steady progress in bilateral relations, particularly as it comes soon after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s trip to Afghanistan last month, the defence ministry said.
A day earlier, India and Germany said they desired to see an independent Afghanistan handling its security on its own. The remark was made by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at a joint press conference.
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