New Delhi: India has delivered three military choppers to Kabul weeks ahead of the first visit, by Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani to New Delhi since taking over charge.

The three Cheetal helicopters, which are unarmed and have a utility role, have been ready for delivery with India since June last year, but several deadlines were missed as the two nations were looking for an appropriate occasion for the handing over.

However, it now seems that India sent the choppers in a low key affair to Kabul, earlier this month with Minister of State for Defence Rao Inderjit Singh informing Parliament that they were quietly dispatched on 9 April. "These helicopters have been test flown and accepted by Afghanistan pilots on 15th April," the minister said in a written reply to P Nagarajan in Lok Sabha.

Sources said India had been looking for a significant visit or occasion to send the helicopters over as a symbol of friendship to Afghanistan, but several deadlines passed by due to a certain lack of response from the other side.

Indian security related ties with Afghanistan have been on a low, since Ghani took over last year. A much discussed Indian weapons package for Afghanistan, which involved both transfer of weapons, increasing the capacity of the Afghan forces by setting up maintenance centers and providing equipment through Russia has since been put on the freezer