No Indian troops in Afghanistan, says minister

- Agence France-Presse, NEW DELHI

Sep 27, 2017-

India will not deploy troops to Afghanistan as part of a new US strategy for the war-torn country, the Indian defence minister said Tuesday, but she promised to boost support for the recently unveiled effort. 

After talks with US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis, Nirmala Sitharaman said India was prepared to increase training for Afghan personnel and help develop critical civilian infrastructure such as schools and hospitals.“India’s contribution to Afghanistan has been for a very long time, and has been consistently on developmental issues,” Sitharaman said at a news conference with Mattis.

The “contribution has been on these grounds and we shall expand if necessary. However as we have made it very clear, there should not be boots from India on the ground.”Mattis’ trip to India is the first by any member of President Donald Trump’s cabinet. It comes just after Trump unveiled a new Afghanistan strategy and urged New Delhi to help.“We applaud India’s invaluable contributions to Afghanistan and welcome further efforts to promote Afghanistan’s democracy, stability and security,” Mattis said. India has long vied with arch-rival Pakistan for influence in Afghanistan, building dams, roads and a new parliament in the troubled country. Last year it offered some $1 billion in aid. It has also trained more than 4,000 Afghan National Army officers and provided helicopters to the Afghan Air Force.

Published: 27-09-2017 08:24

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