India to consider Afghan request for arms supplies



New Delhi: Ahead of Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai's visit next week, India on Saturday said it was ready to discuss and consider Afghanistan's request for arms supplies, as and when raised.

Terming Afghanistan as a "strategically important" neighbour, the spokesperson in the Ministry of External Affairs said the two countries had mechanisms available to address all issues under Strategic Partnership Agreement.

"Our view is that there is a mechanism available, and all issues are discussed under this mechanism. And within our own modest means as a developing country, we will continue to discuss and respond to specific requests of the Afghan government," he said.

"There are diplomatic channels available and we will consider these (requests) as and when they are raised in the channels which are available," Akbaruddin added.

He was asked about Afghan Ambassador to India Shaida M Abdali's request for enhanced defence ties with India, including supply of lethal and non-lethal military equipment.

Maintaining that in recent times India has focused on economic development of the war-torn country, the Spokesperson also said, "we realise that we cannot ignore political and security issues that stand in the way of realising that".

India and Afghanistan have a Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA), inked in 2011, under which they have a Strategic Partnership Council which is headed by their foreign ministers, who met for the first time in 2012.

PTI