Washington: Describing the India-Afghan military ties as historic, Afghan Army Chief Gen Sher Mohammad Karimi has said their relationship was not aimed at any third country, an obvious reference to Pakistan.
"Our relationship with India is not a new relation ...We had a historic and friendly relationship with India and this is a continuation of the past," Gen Karimi said.
"In fact, this partnership, to my understanding, is just continuation of the first such agreement between the two countries in 1955," the visiting Afghan General said, when asked about the recently signed strategic partnership between India and Afghanistan.
India is the first country with which Afghanistan had inked a strategic partnership, a move which was welcomed by the US and other western countries but it raised eyebrows in Pakistan.
Gen Karimi, who received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the National Defence University here on Thursday, said Afghanistan had a military relationship with India even prior to World War II. "I remember, we had commanders trained in India in the 1930s. Pilots were trained in India."
"From my point of view there is nothing new in it. Some people think that there is some kind of alliance between India and Afghanistan. No (that is not the case). Some of the neighbours think that way. But that is not true," Karimi said.
"Our relationship is a historic relationship. It was there. It is there, It will be there. They (India) have trained our Army officers, not only today, but also this goes back to pre-partition days," he said in response to a question.
Without naming Pakistan, Gen Karimi said that no country should be afraid of the military relationship between India and Afghanistan.
The top Afghan General said the Afghan National Army was ready to take charge of the security of the country by 2014 as envisioned in the Lisbon declaration. Karimi also emphasised on the importance of strategic partnership between Afghanistan and the US, noting that Kabul has come a long way and was on the right path in reaching its goals.
Highlighting the need for professionalising of the Army, Karimi said part of the process will involve developing the strategic communication capability of the Afghan National Army, so that it can reach out to the people and represent, not only the Army, but the government too.