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India-Russia-Afghanistan: India, Russia and Afghanistan quietly have created a triangular arrangement for providing arms aid to Afghanistan after NATO withdraws. None of the countries have made an official announcement. Only a small number of news services, including The Moscow Times and Pakistani newspapers, have published articles about it.
The arrangement was finalized in February when an India team visited Moscow, but it had been under discussion during the past year. It was one of the discussion items when President Karzai visited India last December.
Under the agreement, smaller arms such as light artillery and mortars will be provided by Russia and moved to Afghanistan from the north, while India paid Russia for the equipment. An inventory of Russian-made equipment in Afghanistan has been completed. Afghanistan has presented India with a list of requirements and Russia reportedly has made one or more initial shipments.
Jason “JZ” Liszkiewicz
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In India, climate change is forcing farmers to adapt in order to survive. While scientists race to breed a new batch of climate-resilient super seeds, locals are instead turning to the ways of their ancestors.
Saltwater intrusion, flooding, droughts, rising sea levels and violent storms wreak havoc on the agriculture of countries like India, forcing many to seek out more resilient seed varieties. Rice conservators like Debal Deb are helping to reintroduce traditional, salt-tolerant solutions for struggling farmers. “They are more precious than gold,” says a local affected by cyclone Isla four years ago. People like Deb say these seeds rival modern scientific billion-dollar investments, including GM. But scientists say reintroducing old seed varieties simply doesn’t produce enough to feed 9 billion people on a climate-changing planet.
Centre for Investigative Reporting
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India-Afghanistan: Indian Minister of External Affairs Slaman Khurshid said on 15 February that India will provide helicopters to Afghanistan.
“We are giving them helicopters and we will be supplying them very soon,” Khurshid told reporters accompanying him on a day-long visit to the Afghan city of Kandahar, where he inaugurated an agricultural university built with Indian aid. “We also have been giving them some logistical support and we hopefully will be able to upgrade and refurbish their transport aircraft.”
Khurshid did not specify the number or type of helicopters to be provided to Afghanistan. Nor did he elaborate on transport aircraft contracts.
The attached BBC report/video by John Simpson describing Afghan attitudes toward the US/UK exit struck me as bizarre. The weight of Simpson’s gist is that most Afghans do not want us to leave. But the report based most of its information on interviews in Kabul and only a short part (the wobbly part) on the countryside where the vast majority of Afghans live — i.e., Helmand. Simpson did not mention of Taliban strongholds in Kandahar and the border areas with Pakistan,nor did he mention the western areas like Herat, or the Northern areas. So I asked an Afghan friend who follows events in Afghanistan closely for his take on this report. Attached below the video link is my friend’s reaction and a NYT piece with yellow highlights.
(BBC) The BBC’s world affairs editor John Simpson visited Kabul, a city he knows well, to discover what shape Afghan government forces are in and whether the Taliban could take over after UK and American troops leave.
Email from Mr. X
(a highly educated Afghan — ethnic Pashtun — an expat living in Europe)