In contact with various stakeholders on Afghanistan, says MEA

MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi.   | Photo Credit: twitter/@abagchimea

India on Thursday said it is in contact with “various stakeholders” in and around Afghanistan confirming that South Block has adopted a broad-based approach to discuss the future of Afghanistan and the region around with various parties involved. The response came soon after National Security Advisor Ajit Doval addressed a meeting of his counterparts of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation held on Thursday in Dushanbe and pitched to preserve developmental gains in Afghanistan.

“India supports all peace initiatives and has a long term commitment towards development and reconstruction of Afghanistan. In this context, we remain in touch with various stakeholders, including regional countries,” said Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi. The comment has added more substance to the reports that India has held a round of secret talks with the members of the Taliban in Doha.

Cross-border actors

Arguing in favour of stronger ties with Kabul, Mr. Bagchi said India has brought development to Afghanistan which was ravaged by violence inflicted by cross-border actors. “India has brought electricity, dams, schools, health clinics, roads and community projects to Afghanistan. The world knows what Pakistan has brought to Afghanistan,” said Mr. Bagchi obliquely referring to its role in fomenting violence inside Afghan territories.

The comments on dialogue with relevant stakeholders has also added to the officially unconfirmed reports of back channel talks that India has been conducting with Pakistan through third parties. Mr. Doval attended the SCO NSAs meeting which also saw the participation of his Pakistani counterpart Moeed Yusuf who has been in news over reports of back channel talks.

Sources said Mr. Doval argued for the “need to preserve gains made in the last two decades in Afghanistan and give top priority to welfare of its people”. He also proposed an action plan against Pakistan-based terror outfits Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) as part of the anti-terror framework of the SCO and sought adoption of international standards to counter terror financing including an MoU between the SCO and the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

Discussion at FATF

Cross-border attacks against India by LeT and JeM have been at the centre of India’s recent tensions with Pakistan. The issue is being discussed at the FATF on Thursday and a decision on greylisting of Pakistan is expected as early as Friday.

Mr. Doval also argued for monitoring new technologies used by international terrorists like drones, dark web, Artificial Intelligence, block chain and social media.

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Printable version | Aug 3, 2021 12:49:27 AM |

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