Top Afghan Minister To Visit J&K

7 April 2008

New Delhi: Afghan defence minister Abdul Rahim Wardak, who has arrived on a week-long visit to India, will visit Indian Army establishments in Jammu and Kashmir, including Srinagar (where the 15-Corps is based) and Nagrota (near Jammu) during his visit, Army sources confirmed on Monday. Mr Wardak, who arrived late on Sunday, will begin his official engagements on Tuesday with defence minister A.K. Antony and the top brass of India’s armed forces. The very fact that the Afghan defence minister is being taken to J&K indicates the significance of the visit and the underlying message that will go across to Pakistan. It also shows that India values its strategic ties with Afghanistan and the Karzai regime at a time when both nations are fighting militant organisations which have their roots in Pakistan. The Taliban has regrouped in Afghanistan and is attacking Afghan and the Western troops there. Indian troops in J&K have been fighting Pakistan-backed militancy in J&K for the past 18 years. 'The Afghan defence minister will take stock of how the Indian Army is conducting counter-insurgency operations and fighting militant groups that have their base in Pakistan. Afghanistan is also fighting militancy in the shape of a resurgent Taliban which enjoys the backing of tribals in Pakistan,' sources said.