The proposal comes after a request from the Afghan government
The government of India is mulling to buy more Mi-35 gunship helicopters for the Afghan Air Force in a bid to bolster the fighting the capability of the Afghan national defense and security forces.
The decision comes after a formal request from the Afghan Govt including during a visit to Delhi by Afghanistan’s National Security Advisor Hanif Atmar in October and follows several visits to Moscow by Indian officials to discuss the logistics.
For this purpose, Indian Defense Ministry personals are also expected to the East European country which includes Serbia or Ukraine whose still operate Soviet-era aircraft.
According to diplomatic sources, the Afghan officials have not confirmed in this regard so far but Kabul has long been urging New Delhi to provide support to the Afghan security force as the country has invested billions of Dollars in reconstruction so far and an Afghan defense team is expected in Delhi shortly to follow up on the discussions.
Defense experts said New Delhi’s intention to buy gunship helicopters for the Afghan forces develop as the Pentagon earlier said the United States welcome additional support by the Indian government to Afghanistan, noting the country’s contribution to the reconstruction of Afghanistan.
India had previously donated four Mi-25 helicopters to Afghanistan, the first of which arrived in-country in December 2015. These Mi-25s were intended to replace five Mi-35s that had already been grounded due to serviceability issues.
India’s motivations for such actions are by no means purely charity-orientated. The country has a genuine interest in seeing Afghan forces contain Islamist insurgent groups like the Taliban whose existence is considered a threat to its own national security.
Furthermore, Indian defense authorities believe that by assisting the Afghan government’s fight against armed groups, it will be rolling back the strategic policies of its arch-rival Pakistan.