India in touch with “various stakeholders” in Afghanistan: MEA | Latest India News
India said Thursday it was in contact with “various stakeholders” in Afghanistan to work for the long-term goal of developing and rebuilding the war-torn country.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Arindam Bagchi answered questions during a weekly press briefing on the Hindustan Times report on opening channels of communication in India with factions and Taliban leaders for the first time, and if there had been a change in India’s policy on Afghanistan.
Bagchi declined to comment on HT’s report, but said, “We are in contact with various stakeholders… as part of our long-term commitment to the development and reconstruction of Afghanistan.
Describing India’s relations with Afghanistan as historic and multifaceted, he added, “We have engaged with Afghans of all ethnicities. As a friendly neighbor, we are concerned about peace and security in Afghanistan and the region. We support all peace initiatives and are engaged with several stakeholders, including countries in the region. ”
Bagchi noted that Foreign Minister S Jaishankar virtually attended the inaugural ceremony of the intra-Afghan talks in Doha last September, while a delegation of senior officials attended the same talks.
The intra-Afghan talks marked the first time that Indian officials had been present in the same location as a Taliban delegation.
Bagchi further said that there had been “visits by several Afghan leaders to India” in the recent past, and that the Indian side had made official visits to Kabul.
HT reported on Tuesday that India had for the first time opened channels of communication with Afghan Taliban factions and leaders, including Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, in the context of the rapid withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan.
The move marks a significant shift from India’s long-standing stance of not engaging with the Afghan Taliban and comes at a time when major world powers are turning to the position that the Taliban will play a role. in any future dispensation in Kabul.
The Foreign Affairs Officer for Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran, Co-Secretary JP Singh, visited Kabul last month for meetings with Afghan leaders. National Security Advisor Ajit Doval paid a two-day visit to Kabul in January, becoming the first senior Indian official to visit Afghanistan since the start of the peace process last year.