US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has said that India’s decision not to send its troops to Afghanistan was in view of Pakistan’s considerations as this would bring in new complexities in the region.
Mattis praised India’s contributions to the war-torn country before lawmakers at House Armed Services Committee, saying New Delhi has adopted a holistic approach in its assistance towards Afghanistan.
“It is really a very holistic approach that India is taking. You’ll notice I left off (Indian) boots (soldiers) on the ground because of the complexity that would bring to Pakistan,” Mattis said in response to a question from Congressman Doug Lamborn during the Congressional hearing on South Asia.
“We’re trying to make this an inclusive strategy and we don’t want them to get a sense that they’re vulnerable to any Indian Army people from their western flank, that’s not necessary,” Mattis said.
Responding to a series of questions on the Indian role in Afghanistan, Mattis said, “New Delhi has been generous over many years with Afghanistan. Because of its very generous funding over the years, India has achieved a degree of affection from the Afghan people as a result. They intend to continue this effort and broaden it. Furthermore, they are providing training for Afghan military officers and NCOs at their schools.”
Furthermore, India has been providing and will continue to provide training for Afghan Army doctors and medics in the field so that the Afghan Army is able to take casualties and better sustain themselves thing, he said.
Mattis said there are many areas where India and the US are natural partners for each other. The two countries, he said, are deepening and broadening the military-to-military relationship.
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