NEW DELHI — The Indian government is evaluating the possibility of stationing troops in Afghanistan after the international forces begin leaving the country in 2014.
An Indian Ministry of Defence source said no decision has yet been taken, but the possibility of putting boots in Afghanistan is under consideration by the Indian government.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai is visiting New Delhi May 20-22 and the issue of stationing of Indian troops is likely to be discussed, said an official of the Indian External Affairs Ministry.
“It is in India’s interest to enhance security and defense cooperation with Afghanistan,” added the official, but he would not comment if a decision has been made.
Currently, India’s defense relations with Afghanistan is only at the cooperation level, including training of personnel at Indian institutes. The Indian government had previously opposed stationing ground troops unless it is under the umbrella of the United Nations.
“New Delhi will have to be very careful in supplying weapons and equipment and stationing troops in Afghanistan so that it does not project itself to be over enthusiastic in its presence in Afghanistan, once the international troops leave in 2014,” said analyst Nitin Mehta.
India has built roads and infrastructure in Afghanistan with the assistance of the Border Roads Organisation.