India's approach to Afghanistan continues to be guided by historical relations, friendship with Afghan people: Jaishankar

India has not yet recognised the Taliban set up and has been pitching for the formation of a truly inclusive government in Kabul

December 16, 2023 05:52 am | Updated 09:34 am IST - New Delhi

External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar. File.

External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar. File. | Photo Credit: ANI

In the past two years, some Afghan diplomats have left India as they obtained residency in third countries but the remaining diplomats have taken over the responsibility for continued functioning of the diplomatic missions of that country, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar said on December 15.

In a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha, he said India's approach to Afghanistan continues to be guided by its historical relations, friendship with its people and relevant UN resolutions.

"The diplomatic presence of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in New Delhi and the Consulates of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in Mumbai and Hyderabad continue to function in India," he said in his reply.

"During the past two years, some Afghan diplomats have left India since they obtained residency in third countries. However, the remaining Afghan diplomats based in India have taken over the responsibility for the continued diplomatic functioning of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan," he said.

India has not yet recognised the Taliban set up and has been pitching for the formation of a truly inclusive government in Kabul besides insisting that Afghan soil must not be used for any terrorist activities against any country.

The Afghan embassy in New Delhi, under the control of Ambassador Farid Mamundzay, last month announced its permanent closure, citing "persistent challenges from the Indian government".

It is learnt that Mamundzay's announcement of the closure of the embassy was more to do with internal power struggle and departure of around 20 diplomats from India seeking asylum in the West.

Mamundzay has been in London since June.

It is also learnt that Afghan Consul General in Mumbai, Zakia Wardrak is now overseeing the operations at the embassy.

Mr. Jaishankar said India's approach to Afghanistan continues to be guided by its historical relations, friendship with its people and relevant UN resolutions, including UN Security Council Resolution 2593.

The UNSC resolution 2593, adopted on August 30, 2021 talked about the need for upholding human rights in Afghanistan, demanded that Afghan territory should not be used for terrorism and that a negotiated political settlement should be found to the crisis.

"The India based personnel of the embassy in Kabul returned to India in the aftermath of the takeover by the Taliban. Since June 2022, an Indian technical team is positioned in the Embassy and is active in respect of humanitarian assistance and other situations," Mr. Jaishankar said.

"India's stance in regard to recognition of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan is in consonance with that of the international community," he said.

The External Affairs Minister also mentioned India's humanitarian aid to Afghanistan.

"Keeping in mind the deteriorating situation in that country, India decided to assist Afghan people by supplying humanitarian aid," he said.

"In this endeavour, we have supplied several shipments of humanitarian assistance consisting of 50,000 MTs of wheat, 250 tons of medical aid and 28 tons of earthquake relief aid," he said.

Jaishankar said these consignments were handed over to the United Nations World Food Programme, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Indira Gandhi Institute of Child Health and Afghan Red Crescent Society.

"India has historical and civilizational ties with Afghanistan and our development partnership has included more than five hundred projects spread across each of the 34 provinces of the country in critical areas of power, water supply, road connectivity, healthcare, education, agriculture and capacity building," he said.

"Our technical team in Kabul is monitoring the status of our projects and their functioning, in addition to supporting humanitarian assistance," he added.

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