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Delhi rejects Karzai’s plea for lethal arms

Delhi rejects Karzai’s plea for lethal arms

Jul 05, 2013 - 16:47

KABULinfo-icon (PANinfo-icon): New Delhi, promising a long-term presence in Afghanistaninfo-icon, has indicated it is neither in a position nor ready to grant Kabul’s request for the supply of lethal weapons.

The rejection came from Minister of Externalinfo-icon Affairs Salman Khurshid weeks after President Hamid Karzai raised the issue with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

In an interview published on Friday, the minister said: "We are going to help (Kabul) with non-lethal equipment but I don't think we are either in the position or willing to contribute lethal weapons right now."

India was already supplying Afghanistan important elements of supporting equipment, which included helicopters, the minister told a Singapore-based newspaper.

Speaking to the Straits Times, Khurshid said: “We think it is not advisable to go beyond that. It is a fragile area, there are stakeholders; there are other people. We don't want to become part of the problem."

Many people had different perceptions about the future of Afghanistan post 2014, he remarked, saying: “If we can help Afghanistan without creating further problems for it, I think that would be a preferred way to do it."

Delhi remained in touch with Kabul constantly, without looking for the exit routes, the external affairs minister said, adding the Afghans had a lot confidence in the Indians and they would not be le t down.

Regarding his recent talks with US Secretary of State on the future of the war-torn nation, Khurshid said it was too early for the Americans to give a clear picture. Even Afghans themselves could not give a full picture, he noted.

“I have been to the Heart-of-Asia (ministerial) Conference and apart from the fact that everybody was clearly remaining committed to the future of Afghanistan, as we do, there are no clear roadmaps about what can happen during 2014.”

He had no idea how next year’s presidential elections would be conducted, saying he did not know whether President Karzai would have a candidate to endorse or would just want the political system to throw up somebody acceptable to some extent to all parties.

PAN Monitor/mud


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