New Delhi : The Commanding General of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, General John Nicholson urged India to supply military equipment to Afghanistan and increase military cooperation with them. General Nicholson while on his visit to India mentioned about an urgent need of India’s military support to Afghanistan. There has been immediate reaction from Pakistan on the visit of General Nicholson. Pakistan has stated that “If India is presented an opportunity to play a bigger role in Afghanistan, it would affect Pakistan’s co-operation to the US in the fight against terror”.
General John Nicholson on his second visit to India met India’s National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Indian Army chief Dalbir Singh Suhag, Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar and Defence Secretary Mohan Kumar. During the meetings General Nicholson urged India to increase military support and aid to Afghanistan. Previously India had provided four MI-25 combat helicopters to Afghanistan. India is also engaged in training Afghan troops. General Nicholson acknowledged the huge advantage of this support of India to Afghanistan and also that the MI-25 were effectively being used in recent attacks on terrorists.
General John Nicholson specified the need of fighter planes for Afghanistan to target the terrorists. He further said that India could help Afghanistan in providing spares of Russian defence equipment along with additional training. He also stated that terrorist organisations like Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed and Haqqani Network are imposing dangers for the entire region, and hence India’s support to Afghanistan to fight terror is of great importance.
The US and NATO seeking India’s greater involvement has not gone down well with Pakistan. Pakistan reacted that if US gives India a bigger role in Afghanistan, it would affect Pakistan’s co-operation with the US in the fight against terror. ‘The Nation’ a Pakistani newspaper has published an article expressing Pakistan’s concern. Experts and sections of media in Pakistan have been highlighting that US has been openly taking an anti-Pakistan stand since a few months.
To begin with, US refused to supply the F-16 fighter planes to Pakistan and subsequently stalled the USD 300 million security aid. US also made anup front demand with Pakistan to act on terrorist organisations attacking Pakistan’s neighbouring countries. Pakistani experts feel that the US is taking pro-India steps and pressuring Pakistan. They also feel that General John Nicholson seeking additional involvement of India in Afghanistan is also a part of the same US strategy.