India rules out deploying troops to Afghanistan

India_Afghanistan_Flags_Thinkstock_360KABUL: New Delhi on Tuesday said it would not deploy troops to Afghanistan, pledging to ramp up development cooperation with the conflict-devastated country.

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, addressing a joint news briefing with his US counterpart James Mattis in New Delhi, made clear there would not be any Indian boots on the ground in Afghanistan.

Following talks with the visiting defence secretary, Sitharaman was quoted as saying by NDTV that there was an identity of between India and the US on the issue of terrorism in the region. Both sides slammed the use of terror as an instrument of state policy.

According to Reuters, the two leaders agreed to further cement military links, including the potential sale of US jet fighters and surveillance drones to the Indian government.

“As global leaders, India and the US resolve to work together to eradicate this scourge,” Mattis said, referring to alleged  terror safe havens. He said such sanctuaries should not be tolerated.

He hailed India’s contribution to Afghanistan as invaluable, while commending further efforts to promote democracy and security in the war-hit country. “We appreciate India’s leadership in the Indian Ocean and seek to work together to build a resilient regional architecture.”

For her part, Sitharaman promised: “India will expand development activities, but there will be no boots on the ground in Afghanistan.” -Pajhwok

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