External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar on Thursday told the Rajya Sabha that India would not accept any outcome in Afghanistan that was decided by force and that there was “strong convergence” on this between India and the United States.
Mr. Jaishankar replied to a starred question by Samajwadi Party MP Rewati Raman Singh about the relationship with the U.S. and then a supplementary question posed by nominated MP Swapan Dasgupta about the situation in Afghanistan. Mr. Jaishankar said he had a good discussion with U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken during his visit to Delhi this week.
“We had a very detailed discussion on Afghanistan. I articulated our position at a press conference jointly held with the visiting secretary. We were very clear that there must be negotiated political settlement in Afghanistan. There cannot be a military solution, there cannot be a takeover by use of force. We will work with the international community to ensure that political negotiation for settlement are pursued seriously and we would never accept any outcome which is decided by force. I think there was a very strong convergence in our positions —India and the United States — on this matter,” the Minister said.
In response to Mr. Singh’s assertion that India was being compared with Russia and China in terms of human rights violations, Mr. Jaishankar said the observation was “not an accurate one”. He said India was seeking to “right historical wrongs” and freedom should not be treated as “non-governance and abdication of responsibilities”.
Asked by BJP MP Lt. Gen (retd.) D.P. Vats whether the Quad was effective against China without a military treaty, he said: “It has been the policy of this country to secure its legitimate national security and defence interest though its own efforts. We obviously have international partners, many of them. We are very confident of the cooperative outcomes when we work with these partners and we believe these partnerships will help deal with many regional and global challenges.”
In response to an unstarred question by P. Bhattacharya about India’s stand on the Taliban trying to take power in Afghanistan, MoS External Affairs V. Muraleedharan’s written reply stated that India was in touch with stakeholders inside and outside Afghanistan.
“As a contiguous neighbour and strategic partner, India has a steadfast policy to support sovereign, democratic and peaceful Afghanistan, where the interest of all sections of Afghan society including women, children and minorities are protected. India supports all peace initiatives leading towards a lasting political settlement through an inclusive Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled process which would lead to peace and stability in the region…,” the reply stated.