Defence Minister says India will not send soldiers to Afghanistan



By APD Writer Rishika Chauhan

NEW DELHI, September 28 (APD) -- India’s Defence Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman recently announced that India will not send its troops to Afghanistan.

Speaking to the media after a meeting with the US defence secretary, James Mattis on Tuesday, she informed that, India would help Afghanistan in building infrastructure.

“There shall not be boots from India on the ground in Afghanistan,” Sitharaman said at a joint media briefing with James Mattis, who is visiting India.

New Delhi promised to continue to build Afghanistan’s infrastructure such as dams, schools, hospitals and roads. According to a report published in Hindustan Times, so far, India has contributed around $3 billion towards building highways, power transmission lines, dams, and a new parliament building in Afghanistan.

“We are also at the moment training their officials in good governance... India’s contribution has been there and we shall expand if necessary,” Sitharaman said.

Mattis also held discussions with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, especially on topics related to bilateral cooperation on peace, stability and combating terrorism. He hoped India and the US would work together to fight terrorism.

India Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US defence secretary, James Mattis.

“There can be no tolerance of terrorist safe havens. As global leaders, India and the United States resolve to work together to eradicate this scourge” said, Mattis.

The two ministers also discussed defence deals, where Mattis stressed, “We look forward to sharing some of our most advanced defence technologies.”

While, Sitharaman appreciated the US’ gesture, welcoming America’s “willingness to share further cutting-edge platforms which would enhance India’s defence preparedness to meet current and emerging threats.”