India’s Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj confirmed that India will send two retired diplomats, Amar Sinha and TCA Raghavan as its representatives to participate in talks on the Afghanistan peace process, at ‘non-official’ level, to be held in Russia.
“We are aware that the Russian Federation is hosting a meeting in Moscow on 9 November on Afghanistan. India supports all efforts at peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan that will preserve unity and plurality, and bring security, stability and prosperity to the country. India’s consistent policy has been that such efforts should be Afghan-led, Afghan-owned, and Afghan-controlled and with the participation of the Government of Afghanistan,” MEA spokesperson said. “Our participation at the meeting will be at the non-official level,” it is added.
The Russian government welcomed India’s decision to participate in the talks on Nov 9.
“We highly regard Indian support in the peace process in Afghanistan and welcome Indian readiness and that of other partner countries in the Moscow format,” the Russian Embassy said in a statement on Thursday.
About why India’s stand had undergone a shift vis-à-vis the Taliban, The Hindu quoted government officials as saying that the decision was the outcome of “close discussions with the Afghanistan government,” and it was felt necessary for India to have a “presence” there.
This will be Russian’s second attempt to establish sustainable peace in Afghanistan with the help of regional powers. First meeting, scheduled for September 4, was cancelled as Taliban rejected the message of peace and direct negotiations, and also lack of cooperation from Afghanistan Government.
However, now the Afghan government and Taliban has confirmed their participation in peace talks and will send representatives to Moscow
“Taliban political envoys will attend the meeting but the participation does not mean they will hold talks with anyone. This is a meeting to debate the current situation in Afghanistan,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said. “The meeting will discuss the end of the American invasion, identify problems and deliberate on regional peace,” Mujahid said in a brief statement.
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17 November, 2019