SHASHANK JOSHI | Nov 1, 2016
India’s growing arms footprint in Afghanistan points to an important future aspect of its regional power projection.
“We have a wish list that we have put before the government of India,” declared the then Afghan President, Hamid Karzai, on a visit to New Delhi in May 2013. “It is up to the government now to provide us according to their means.” Over the next year, the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government decided its means were to be modest. It dithered, wary of provoking Pakistan further, concerned by where its weapons might end up, and pleading a shortage of stocks. In April 2014, it agreed to the curious expedient of paying Russia to supply small arms to Afghanistan. This was, perhaps, not so strange in light of a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO)-Russia agreement that same month to maintain Afghanistan’s crumbling helicopter fleet, building on earlier from Moscow…
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