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Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani to arrive today with wish list of Guns, Choppers

Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani will be arriving here on Wednesday with a wish list for military assistance, which India is likely to fulfil.

“Guns and helicopters are likely to be in the requirement list of the visiting President,” a source told Express.

Prime Minister Modi, who will hold close consultations with Ghani, will also be hosting a lunch for the visiting President.

Afghanistan has been demanding increased defence supplies, including lethal weapons from India, which for the first time gave four Mi-25 attack helicopters to the war-torn country last year.

The previous government led by Manmohan Singh had stuck to the longterm policy of not providing military equipment to Afghanistan for fear of angering Pakistan. Since then, China has readily stepped in to bridge the gap. Recently, for the first time, a Chinese train chugged into Afghanistan carrying military supply.

The shift in policy was the result of India de-hyphenating the relationship with Afghanistan from Pakistan and transferring lethal military equipment to Kabul. India trains nearly 800 Afghan soldiers in different defence establishments every year.

And the US troops in the strategically important country are on the exit mode and Washington has been encouraging New Delhi to step up its military assistance to Kabul.

Announcing the visit, the Ministry of External Affairs said the discussions between Ghani and Modi would cover a wide range of matters of mutual interest.

“The upcoming visit will provide an opportunity to continue the close and frequent consultations between the two friendly neighbours, including at the highest level.

“Such interaction is the hallmark of their strategic partnership and has guided the strengthening of all-round cooperation between the two countries,” the ministry had said in a statement on Saturday.

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