Military trainers for Afghanistan

India is ideally suited to provide the military trainers that NATO needs in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan needs more military trainers — NATO has been able to provide only 541 out of 1278 trainers needed for the growing Afghan Army and Police forces — and they aren’t getting them from anywhere. Pakistan has been rather keen to provide the trainers, but NATO has been guarded in its reactions to the Pakistani proposal. And there are valid reasons for that reluctance.

The issue of regional sensitivities has been mentioned by the NATO Senior Civilian Representative in Afghanistan upfront as the primary reason for their disinclination. In any case, Pakistan has favoured only one tribe, the Pashtuns, in Afghanistan and played them up against all the other tribes in that country. This, coupled with its continued support to the Afghan Taliban, has severely damaged Pakistan’s credibility among the Afghans. Moreover Pakistan army, despite all its claims to professionalism, has never been part of a real democracy and doesn’t understand the basic dynamics of a healthy civil-military relationship. A fledgling democracy like Afghanistan can ill-afford an example like Pakistan when it comes to the critical democratic principle of civilian control of the military. In addition, Afghanistan army and police forces have to be trained to fight¬† against Taliban, al Qaeda and other jehadis who are waging their war in the name of Islam against the Karzai government. Pakistan army, when asking its troops to fight the co-religionist jehadis on its own land, has often used the subterfuge of Pakistani Taliban being part of a Hindu-Zionist-Christian conspiracy hatched by RAW, Mossad and CIA who are hell-bent on destroying the Islamic republic of Pakistan. Can such an army ever be trusted to train the Afghan National Army?

In contrast, India suffers from none of these disadvantages. It has a professional armed force, which has been always subservient to the civilians, and which understands the constraints of operating in a vibrant democracy. Indian armed forces also possess the rich experience of conducting counter-insurgency campaigns in diverse social settings in various regions of the country, where successful security operations have often culminated in political negotiations for lasting peace. Moreover India, and Indians, have historically enjoyed a favourable reputation in Afghanistan, which has been further enhanced by India’s liberal economic and developmental assistance to the war-torn country since 2001.

But is the NATO asking India for its military trainers in Afghanistan? Going by the evidence so far, No. NATO’s anticipation of Pakistani objections to Indian involvement in military training in Afghanistan is perhaps holding it back.

Is Indian government offering its military trainers to NATO for Afghanistan? Nothing in the public domain suggests so. Perhaps, the belief that India can achieve its aims in Afghanistan by shovels alone is preventing the government from making that offer.

It is in the mutual interest of both the parties to overcome their doubts and start cooperating in Afghanistan. The earlier they do it, the better it is — for Afghanistan, for the region, and for exterminating the jehadi threat emanating from the region.


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7 Responses to Military trainers for Afghanistan

  1. Peach March 12, 2010 at 2:19 pm #

    “Perhaps, the belief that India can achieve its aims in Afghanistan by shovels alone is preventing the government from making that offer.”

    About shovels, pickaxes, IA bn thr & dn tht. There is this nice read – pg 108, Chapter Waziristan 1919 – 1921, Book ‘The Indian Army and The King’s Enemies’ by CC Trench pub. Thames and Hudson 1988. Has an account of the 3/34th Pioneers vs Pathans (after the 2/82 Punjabis ran away from the fight) when a 17 year old Pioneers’ bugler went for a tribesman in ambush, with a pickaxe, killed him and gleefully brought back the latter’s rifle and ammunition. Will any version or subtribe accept guidance and control from firangis or desis ? No way. Karzai has already spoken of his Cjtwinning. Them cannot be bought or hired with money or roads built ( One of the older Regimental journals of an IA unit stationed there in the 1920′s is titled ‘The Road.’ Have a copy, Vol 1, No 3 Dated Oct 1926 lying around, published by GF at the Model Electric Press, Ewing Road, Lahore and edited by the Rev. DS McKenzie, Chaplain Razmak; also has cartoons of ‘A Mild Mahsud ‘ and some fauji verse etc)

    Do not think that area can ever be revirginised. Them are the really bad items. Only drones to contain them, workers or queens not ok.
    ( Pathan song, about a bum like a peach )

  2. ashok March 13, 2010 at 3:59 pm #

    “It has a professional armed force, which has been always subservient to the civilians”Dictionery meaning of subservient is ‘ too willing to obey someone ” and it is used in a derogatory way. Indian military is anything but that- though it is one of the dream of Prag and a figment of his imagination. Do change this derogatory and silly word if you have some sense

    • Pragmatic March 13, 2010 at 5:06 pm #


      Subservient means “Compliant and obedient to authority”.

  3. objectiveindian March 13, 2010 at 6:48 pm #

    Offence can be taken to the ‘civilians’ in that statement, in the sense that it implies the babus who have taken it upon themselves to put the military in their place, rather than the the civil elected government as it is in a democracy. Otherwise the term could include the clerk or peon too!

  4. Afghan March 14, 2010 at 7:32 pm #

    Afghanistan need a professional National Army and Police to protect the
    sovereignty and indepence of the country and to be subservient to civilian
    Under Regional sensitivities pretext Pakistani Militry are advancing with ill
    define Policy of stratagic-depth,any militry training under such bias Policies
    will have a negative repercution in side Afghanistan and will further aggrevate the balance of relation in the region.
    The independence movement of sub-continent the Pashtun/Afghan Nation
    under secular,democratic and non-voilance slogans alongs with Indian sister’s
    and brother’s have given many sacrifices for the achievment of independance.
    The Pashtun/Afghan secular social institution’s are more stable and discharge the rights and liabilties under peacfull circumstances to stand to
    any agreement for the peacfull co-existance of Nation or State’s.
    Afghanistan need not an agressive national army but a defensive one to
    safe guerd the national development and prosperity of the nation.

  5. Kat March 16, 2010 at 7:27 pm #

    @PE: In contrast, India ….has a professional armed force, ….always subservient to the civilians, and …., where successful security operations have often culminated in political negotiations for lasting peace.

    Thank you. Especially, the professional armed force part.. I wish that satisfies the usual hecklers about your opinion. Brickbats and Bouquets, yeah !!

    Off course, that  subservient part hurt, but there is no running away from the truth and then you have always told it like it is.

  6. Fastidious respond in return of this issue with solid
    arguments and explaining all on the topic of that.

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