More reports on: Indian Army
No military involvement in Afghanistan, Antony clarifies news
29 October 2009

New Delhi: Gushing sentiments from a top US military commander soon after conclusion of a joint Indo-US army exercise has clearly put Indian defence minister AK Antony on the defensive forcing him to clarify that India would not participate militarily in Afghanistan. He stated categorically that there was no question of the country joining US-led coalition forces in the war-ravaged country "now or in the future".

"I am saying categorically that there is no question of Indian military involvement in Afghanistan. I do not foresee such a situation, not now or in the future," Antony told reporters here at a Coast Guard event.

He was responding to a question if the recent Indo-US army counter-insurgency and anti-terror exercise, which saw an impressive deployment of armoured combat vehicles from both sides as well as an air complement, was possibly aimed at future joint operations in Afghanistan.

The joint exercises, conducted at Babina in Uttar Pradesh, was also the largest ever conducted by both sides.

Antony said India was involved in Afghanistan at a humanitarian level and was also providing reconstruction and rehabilitation services and programmes to the war-torn nation, land-locked nation.

The source of the defence minister's concern would be comments made by US Army (Pacific) commander Lt Gen Benjamin R Mixon who informed a press meet soon after conclusion of fortnight-long exercises at Babina, "We will be comfortable going with the Indian Army anywhere, anytime. We want to work together as militaries and ensure peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region."