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Afghans at Indian defence institutes can finish training, likely to get help to seek refugee status

The sources said the Indian government will also “keep supporting financially” all those who are already part of the defence institutes or training academies, as has been the practice with Afghan candidates.

Written by Krishn Kaushik | New Delhi |
Updated: September 1, 2021 7:28:55 am
pune, pune nda, national defence academy, pune nda cadet, nda cadet missing, pune nda cadet missing, pune nda cadet, missing nda cadet returns, india news, pune news, indian express newsBuilding of National Defence Academy. (Express archive photo)

AROUND 120 Afghan nationals, who are training either at defence academies in India or pursuing specialised military courses here, will be allowed to continue with their training. Once they complete their courses, they will be allowed to apply for refugee status in one of the 98 countries that have announced they will accept Afghan nationals.

Sources in the security establishment said on Tuesday that currently there are around 80 Afghan nationals completing their courses in academies such as the National Defence Academy (NDA), Indian Military Academy (IMA), Officers Training Academy (OTA), and another around 40 who are pursuing other specialised military courses.

The sources said the Indian government will also “keep supporting financially” all those who are already part of the defence institutes or training academies, as has been the practice with Afghan candidates.

The government is encouraging them to complete their courses, including civilian qualifications, which can help them wherever they choose to apply for refuge. The sources said there will be no impact on their training and their courses till they complete it.

Once they complete their courses, India will even assist them to apply for visas to the nations willing to accept them, the sources said.

Families of most of those who are undergoing training at Indian military institutions were in Afghanistan when the Taliban took control of the country on August 15. Of those families, the sources said, around half have already applied for refugee status in countries of their choice.

India has regularly hosted around 80 to 100 Afghan nationals at the NDA, IMA and OTA, and they often were among the largest group of foreign nationals that undergo pre-commissioning training at these academies. Apart from these, a number of officers of the Afghan National Army and its other forces also visit India for specific shorter courses.

India is not among the 98 nations that issued a joint statement on August 29, announcing they will continue to accept Afghan nationals even as the US-led evacuation mission came to an end on August 30.

The 98 nations had stated that they are “committed to ensuring that our citizens, nationals and residents, employees, Afghans who have worked with us and those who are at risk can continue to travel freely to destinations outside Afghanistan”.

India, though, independently has announced an e-visa process for the Afghans who wish to come to India. As India evacuated its nationals and officials over the last two weeks, it also brought back a few Afghan nationals.

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