India seeks greater consultation on Afghanistan


The Hindu

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India seeks greater consultation on Afghanistan

India had been keenly observing the unfolding situation in Afghanistan and the time had come for close cooperation and consultation among the regional countries for the all-round security of Afghanistan, said National Security Adviser Ajit Doval addressing the Delhi Regional Security Dialogue on Wednesday. Russian representative Nikolai P. Patrushev said dialogue mechanisms “should not complicate” the unfolding situation in the Taliban-controlled Afghanistan.

NSA Ajit Doval with his Uzbekistan counterpart Victor Makhmudov and other dignitaries during their meeting, in New Delhi, Tuesday, November 9, 2021.

“This is the third meeting of the process that was initiated by Iran in 2018. We had the second meeting there as well. We are grateful to Iran for that. We are meeting today to discuss matters related to Afghanistan. These have important implications not only for the people of Afghanistan but also for its neighbours and the region. This is a time for close consultation amongst us and greater cooperation, interaction and coordination among the regional countries,” Doval said initiating the discussion.

The meeting has drawn representation by the heads of the national security establishment of all the Central Asian countries, Russia and Iran. Pakistan and China too were invited to participate in the consultation but both have stayed away.

This is the first meeting of the security heads of these countries that India is hosting since the Taliban took power in August after dislodging the Government of President Ashraf Ghani. Doval is accompanied in the meeting by Samant Goel, head of the Research and Analysis Wing, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla and other Indian diplomats who have been part of Afghanistan-related initiatives in recent months.

Addressing the meeting after Doval, Rear Admiral Ali Shamkhani, Secretary of Supreme National Security Council of Iran, said there was a need to establish an inclusive Government in Afghanistan. “We will be able to discuss bilateral and multilateral affairs and the issues that have destroyed Afghanistan. The solution comes only through the formation of an inclusive Government with the participation of all ethnic groups,” said Shamkhani, highlighting that the meeting would help focus on the “force” that could attain that goal.

Karim Massimov, Chairman of the National Security Committee of Kazakhstan, highlighted the many obstacles that prevent the formation of an “effective Government” in Afghanistan. “We are strongly concerned with the appearance of the Central Asian fighters [in Afghanistan]. It’s necessary to increase humanitarian assistance for Afghan people. It is highly important to increase concrete actions,” said Massimov.

Addressing the meeting, Kyrgyz Republic’s Marat Imankulov raised the possibility of terrorism spreading from the territory of Afghanistan and said “We need to extend help to the Afghan people.”

Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation Nikolai P. Patrushev praised the role of various regional dialogue mechanisms that had been framed to deal with the political situation in Afghanistan. However, he appeared to favour the Moscow consultation which he praised for “broad participation” by all sides.

“Such dialogue mechanisms should not complicate the work of each other but rather complement each other. The Moscow format of consultation on Afghanistan retains its important potential because of the broad participation of the stakeholders,” Patrushev said, asking for stability in the region around Afghanistan.

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