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    India ready to train, equip Afghan forces: VP

    KABUL (PAN): India is willing to equip and train Afghan security forces, 2nd Vice-President Karim Khalili said on Friday on his return from a three-day visit to New Delhi.

    During his meetings with host leaders, the security and economic situation in the region and bilateral military cooperation came up for discussion, the vice-president said.

    He told journalists at the Kabul airport India had renewed its commitment to equipping and training Afghan forces well beyond 2014, when the NATO combat mission will end.

    Confident of New Delhi honouring its pledges, Khalili said India had a good track record of cooperating with Afghanistan in the past. I would continue to reach out to the ally in the future as well, he hoped.

    At their meeting on Wednesday night, Khalili and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh discussed security issues, trade links other issues of bilateral interest.

    He also called on President Pranab Mukherjee and Vice President M. Hamid Ansari, as well as External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid.

    An Indian consortium has won the mining rights in three of the four blocks at Hajigak, Afghanistan's biggest iron ore deposit, in central Bamyan province, where the VP enjoys a lot of clout.

    He returned from New Delhi three days ahead of President Hamid Karzai’s planned visit to Pakistan, where the two sides are expected to confer on the Afghan-led peace process and the fight against insurgency.