50 Afghan cadets train at IMA

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  1. ejazr

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    Oct 8, 2009
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    50 Afghan cadets train at IMA - Indian Express

    In its largest foreign military training programme, India will be imparting officer-level training to more than 100 Afghan cadets at the prestigious Indian Military Academy (IMA) in Dehradun every year as part of a commitment to Kabul to help strengthen the Afghan National Army (ANA). This is over and above the current training programme for Afghan officers at other military academies and institutions.

    While the officer training programme has keen kept low key given concerns of neighbouring countries about India’s involvement in Afghanistan, the first batch of 50 cadets has arrived at the IMA and will start the 18 month course shortly. Sources said that India is committed to induct over 100 cadets annually at the academy — the primary army officer training institute of the nation.

    The agreement to train such a large number of cadets is the largest foreign military training programme that India is currently undertaking and is expected to go a long way in boosting military ties between the two nations. As things stand, close to 300 Afghan officers trained by India would be in service of the ANA when the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) hands over complete charge.

    With regional constrains ruling out any direct military involvement in Afghanistan, India had taken a decision to support the ANA through a detailed training programme at different levels. At present, close to 35 cadets are being trained at the National Defence Academy (NDA) while a number of other officers are being trained at other higher military training institutions.

    While India’s military training programme has been appreciated by nations involved in Afghanistan, concerns have been raised by Pakistan. The Indian military training team in Kabul was targeted in a suicide attack in February last year, killing two officers, including one who was involved in teaching cadets at the Afghan military academy. Following the attack, New Delhi decided to scale down its presence in Kabul but committed to increasing training and capacity building of Afghan troops within India.

    The course for Afghan cadets starts just over a month after a high profile visit by Afghan Defence Minister General Abdul Rahim Wardak to India where he met top security officials and the political leadership. During the visit, Defence Minister AK Antony assured him that India is committed to building capabilities of the Afghan forces.

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