Washington: With the gradual withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, time has now come for India to send its military inside that country, a top American lawmaker has said.
   
"It makes sense for the two largest democracies to be military allies. On Afghanistan, India, as you know, as a security establishment, is already fighting over 30 insurgencies or guerilla operations," Senator Mark Kirk said at a discussion forum organised by Washington-based think tank, Foreign Policy Initiative.
   
"The Indian security establishment well understands this challenge. I think can correctly perceive that moving terror from North or South or general parts of Dafatan into secured bases around Kabul with the fall of the Karzai government would represent a long-term real security threat for India," he said.
   
"Remember, if you have terror bases operating against India from Pakistan, Pakistan is subjected to pressure from India. If Pakistan could offload that terror training and operations into metropolitan Afghanistan, it makes it much harder for India to pressure for the end of those operations," Kirk said.

The US Senator said over the long term, it makes sense for India to send a key signal to Afghan politicians-- "look, we know the Americans are leaving. We know the Haqqani's are bidding, but we are now stepping in here. We will bank roll you".
   
"If you ask who the winning side is, which is the critical question in Afghanistan, it's us. We have made the decision as a country to outbid Pakistan so that this country is not a terror base against us, and the United States should encourage that," he said.
   
Asked whether India had given any indication on willing to bank roll, Kirk said, "Our indications are the senior a number of Indian politicians said you have to start the discussion, and then we will respond in Indian fashion to you starting the discussion, and I was only too happy to do that."

The Illinois Senator said that the concerns about safety of Pakistan's nuclear arsenals were well founded.
   
"I think it's a danger. It's probably a substantial arsenal.”
   
"Pakistan as a country has a couple of key decisions to make, whether it's a de facto military dictatorship or whether it is a true civilian government, and whether it is mainly a base for Jihad first against the Afghan government and Indian government and later against the West, or whether it is to enter into true economic competition to stay up with India," he said.

(Agencies)