Remember when India and Afghanistan agreed to cooperate on security matters? The first concrete plans under that arrangement are appearing: India is looking forward to training thousands of Afghan National Army officers and enlisted men. Here’s the story from The Diplomat:
Under the agreement, India, which has the world’s third-largest army, agreed to train, equip and build the capacity of the Afghan forces.Sources in the Indian security establishment familiar with the contours of the detailed schedule say Kabul and New Delhi have identified three areas to focus on, namely increasing the intake of officers in India’s premier training institutes; providing specialized training to middle and higher level officers already operating in the Afghan National Army (ANA); and training soldiers in counter-insurgency and counter-terrorist operations by seconding them to various regimental centers across India.This will involve…bringing to India more than 25,000 ANA officers and men over the next three years.
Pakistan, which is boycotting the Bonn Conference in Germany where seventy-five nations are currently meeting to discuss the future of Afghanistan, would be loathe to accept Indian-trained Afghan Army officers. But in all seriousness, India is of course far better equipped to train the Afghan Army than Pakistan is. India has a large military, advanced training facilities (some have played host to American officers), the capacity to train large numbers of Afghan forces simultaneously, much better domestic security than Pakistan, and has offered to provide Afghan forces with equipment and technology.Importantly, India has also been training Afghan intelligence officers.This strikes us as just about the worst scenario for Pakistan’s paranoid leadership. All along they have resisted an Afghan-Indian alliance. What will they do when that relationship becomes more concrete in the future?Be very, very sure that the Pakistani defense establishment looks at these developments and America’s apparent acceptance of them as the deeds that define US attitudes toward Pakistan. From their point of view, it is the moral equivalent of a declaration of war and they reserve the right to act in response.From the Pakistani point of view, the United States is an enemy, not an ally, and America’s plans for postwar Afghanistan are to be frustrated, not helped.Expect nothing more and nothing less.