India won’t deploy troops in Afghanistan

New Delhi: India on Tuesday ruled out deploying troops in troubled Afghanistan even as it asserted along with the US that there will be no tolerance for safe havens for terror.

“There shall not be boots from India on the ground in Afghanistan,” Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said at a joint media conference with visiting US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis after talks with him.

The minister was replying to a question about India’s contribution in Afghanistan and whether it would deploy its troops there.

Mattis is the first high ranking official of the Trump administration to visit India and the US has been wanting Indian military presence in Afghanistan.

Sitharaman said India’s contribution to Afghanistan has been there for a very long time in development activities like building dams, schools, hospitals, roads and any institution which the war-torn country may require.

“We are also at the moment training their officials in good governance… India’s contribution has been there and we shall expand if necessary,” she said.

Mattis said the two countries recognized threat to global peace from terror and both agreed that there should be “no tolerance to safe havens for terrorists”.

“As global leaders, India and the US pledged to eradicate this scourge.”

Mattis said both India and the US have suffered losses due to terrorism and “one aspect of this is universally shared by all responsible nations that there shall be no safe havens for terror”.

The US Defence Secretary did not name Pakistan but Sitharaman minced no words in saying that terror attacks in Mumbai or in New York originated from Pakistan.

“The very same forces which did find safe haven in Pakistan were the forces that hit New York as well as Mumbai,” she said.