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Delhi wary of deeper defence ties with Kabul

Delhi wary of deeper defence ties with Kabul

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Sep 24, 2019 - 12:46

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): India has not shown any inclination to pursue a deeper defence relationship with Kabul, a Congressional report said on Tuesday.

“India has been the largest regional contributor to Afghanistaninfo-icon’s reconstructioninfo-icon, but New Delhi has not shown an inclination to pursue a deeper defence relationship with Kabul,” the Congressional Research Service (CRS) said.

The CRS report, “Afghanistan: Background and US Policy In Brief”, came days ahead of President Donald Trump’s scheduled meetings with the prime ministers of India and Pakistaninfo-icon.

On the eve of the Trump-Modi meeting, Externalinfo-icon Affairs Minister S Jaishankar called on US Special Representative Zalmay Khalilzad on Monday.

CRS said Trump had encouraged India to play a greater role in Afghanistan’s economic development. “This, along with other administrative messaging, has compounded Pakistani concerns over Indian activity in Afghanistan,”

CRS is an independent research wing of the US Congress, which prepares periodic reports on issues of interest for lawmakers to take informed decisions.

“Pakistan’s security establishment, fearful of strategic encirclement by India, apparently continues to view the Talibaninfo-icon as a relatively friendly and reliably anti-India element in Afghanistan,” the report said.

“India’s diplomatic and commercial presence in Afghanistan -- and US rhetorical support for it --exacerbates Pakistani fears of encirclement. Indian interest in Afghanistan stems largely from India’s broader regional rivalry with Pakistan, which impedes Indian efforts to establish stronger and more direct commercial and political relations with Central Asia,” it said.

nh/mud

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