India has delivered the first two of four refurbished Russian-built Mil Mi-24 'Hind' attack helicopters it had promised the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) in early 2018 to boost their counter-insurgency capabilities.
Purchased from Belarus, the two Mi-24s were officially handed over by Vinay Kumar, India's ambassador to Afghanistan, during a ceremony held on 16 May at the Afghan Air Force (AAF) base in Kabul, according to a statement by the Indian Embassy in Kabul.
"These [Mi-24s] are a replacement for the four attack helicopters previously gifted by India to Afghanistan in 2015," said the embassy, adding that the gifted platforms are set to enhance the ANDSF's effectiveness in "combating the scourge of terrorism".
The statement referred to four refurbished Mil Mi-25 assault helicopters India delivered to the ANDSF in April 2015 as part of a bilateral strategic agreement signed in 2011 between New Delhi and Kabul. India, however, has declined to elaborate on whether these Mi-25s have been lost operationally or simply become inoperative.
That same day, Afghanistan's acting defence minister, Asadullah Khalid, tweeted that two remaining Mi-24s would be "purchased [by India from Belarus] and supplied to the Afghan Air Force to make the aerial operations more effective". No details were provided as to when these platforms will be delivered.
In March 2018, Afghanistan's then-ambassador to India, Shaida Mohammad Abdali, had told the Hindustan Times newspaper that the Mi-24s were being acquired under a trilateral agreement signed between Afghanistan, Belarus, and India.
At the time, a senior military official had told Jane's that India had sourced the Mi-24s from Belarus, given that Russia was under international sanctions due to its military actions in Ukraine in 2014 and, hence, was unable to export the rotorcraft.
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