India in discussion with Afghanistan on equipment supplies

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An Indian civilian and military officials’ team is in Afghanistan as the two countries discuss equipment supplies and are looking to enhance cooperation in this area, days after Afghan President Hamid Karzai raised the issue of supply of lethal weapons with the Prime Minister.

Clarifying the remarks by External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid that India has decided not to supply lethal weaponry, official sources on Sunday said that the two countries were in discussion on all aspects regarding the supplies of equipment.

“As a follow up to Prime Minister’s discussions with President Karzai, a joint Defence Ministry and MEA (Ministry of External Affairs) delegation consisting of civilian and military officials is in Kabul to discuss all aspects regarding equipment supplies and is looking to enhance cooperation in this area,” official sources told PTI in New Delhi.

The clarification came two days after Mr. Khurshid said India has turned down Afghanistan’s request for supply of lethal weapons, saying it was not “either in a position or willing” to contribute lethal weapons right now.

“We are going to help with non-lethal equipment but I don’t think we are either in the position to or willing to contribute lethal weapons right now,” Mr. Khurshid had said.

During his recent visit to India, Mr. Karzai had handed a “wish list” to Indian leadership seeking greater military and civilian support in the wake of proposed withdrawal of U.S.-led forces from Afghanistan in 2014.

Mr. Khurshid, in an interview to Straits Times, said there are lots of people who have perceptions about the future of Afghanistan and “if we can help Afghanistan without creating further problems for them, I think that would be a preferred way to do it.”

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