Indian Prime Minsiter, Narendra Modi in presence of Afghan Executive Officer has delivered its first major offensive military platform to Afghan air forces, with four Mi 24d attack helicopters.
The attack helicopters, designed to take on fortified enemy positions and flying in troops to locations prone to heavy ground fire, will join the Afghanistan Air Force that already operates three of the Indian built Cheetal light helicopters.
Afghanistan’s military has been in dire need of helicopters. Besides approaching India, Kabul had reportedly asked Russia directly for the same. Even earlier, US had purchased smaller helicopters from Russia for the Afghan air force but that was stopped after Moscow intervened in the Ukraine.
Narendra Modi considers Afghanistan facing terrorism threats but also said to consider efforts to institutionalization of democracy one of the biggest achievements of Afghanistan.
“Afghanistan will succeed only when terrorism no longer flows across the border; when nurseries and sanctuaries of terrorism are shut; and, their patrons are no longer in business, Modi said, adding, “Terror and violence cannot be the instrument to shape Afghanistan’s future or dictate the choices Afghans make.
Referring to the violence in Afghanistan for decades, Modi said, “Too much blood has flown down Kabul river. Too many tragedies have darkened the mountain slopes. Too many dreams have burnt in the fire of a senseless conflict.”
He also praised Afghans who have risked their lives to protect Indian interests.
“As we have stood with you in our efforts to rebuild your country, you have guarded and protected our people as your own. We have faced daily threats, but we feel secure in your midst.
“To every Afghan, who has risked or lost his life so that his Indian guest is safe, I convey the eternal gratefulness of India.
The executive officer, Abdullah Abdullah pointed out that the Mi-24 helicopters provided by the Indian government to Afghanistan and their maintenance facility would address an important requirement.
During his visit on Friday, the Indian Prime Minister unveiled two of India’s most important initiatives in Afghanistan during the short visit: the inauguration of the parliament building, and handing over ceremony for four Mi-24d attack helicopters.