Amazingly, Pentagon sees nothing terribly new in the security cooperation envisaged in the Afghan-Indian strategic agreement signed in New Delhi last Wednesday during the visit by Hamid Karzai. In a media briefing, the Pentagon spokesman revealed — inadvertently, it seems — that there has been an Indian military training “presence” in Afghanistan “for quite some time” and “obviously, President Karzai finds that very helpful.”
The spokesman justified Karzai’s decision to want to “continue” with the Indian training presence in Afghanistan, being the “elected leader of that sovereign nation.” He also remarked positively that the Indian military has been “helpful” in Afghanistan and that it is contributing to the success of the US strategy.
The Indian military presence in Afghanistan has never been acknowledged by our government — although, there have been allegations by Pakistan to this effect. Arguably, the July 2008 attack on the Indian embassy in Kabul targeting the military attache assumes a new colouring now.
Besides, an element of ambiguity is arising. The Pentagon spokesman seemed to imply that the Indian military mission has been a part of the US-led coalition when he said, “We for our part, the coalition part, the training mission is critical to the success of the strategy and we believe that it is being resourced appropriately from the alliance, NATO and other coalition partners of the United States. One of those regional partners of course is India.”
– October 8, 2011