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Indian officers train Afghan army

Apr 27, 2007 04:40 PM IST India India

New Delhi: Is the Indian Army heading for Afghanistan ? Sources at Army Headquarters in Delhi say 'yes', and say they are on a mission to train the Afghan National Army.

Eight to 10 officers will be sent by next month, at least half comprising English language experts. The rest could be officers from the infantry, artillery and other arms.

Says Former Intelligence chief, Lt Gen R K Sawhney, "What I have heard is that it is a small team which is being dispatched. I am slightly surprised. The Americans felt should we be given this role, it will create a problem with the Pakistanis."

That's one of the reasons perhaps why the Foreign Ministry has denied any such proposal. The other reason may be the fear of getting bogged down in the Afghan quagmire.

Says former Ambassador to Afghanistan, Hamid Ansari, "Sending troops to a foreign country is a very serious matter. I don't think India should get involved in peace enforcing efforts."

Experts believe India should concentrate on what it's currently doing in Afghanistan - reconstruction efforts that improve peoples lives, but the strategic nightmare of a Taliban restoration may just be driving India to examine other options.

(With inputs from Sumon K Chakrabarti in New Delhi)