India to be part of Afghan peace talks in Moscow, Taliban to attend as well
Srinagar: India will be attending a “non-official” level talks on the Afghanistan peace process to be held in Russia on Thursday, The Hindu reported.
India will be sending two former senior diplomats to attend the meeting.
The report said that India will become part of “Moscow format” and will have delegation from the Taliban as well along with twelve countries, including Pakistan.
The major decision on part of India will will mark the first time an Indian delegation to be present at the table in talks with the Taliban representatives based in Doha.
“India supports all efforts at peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan that will preserve unity and plurality, and bring security, stability and prosperity to the country. India’s consistent policy has been that such efforts should be Afghan-led, Afghan-owned, and Afghan-controlled and with participation of the Government of Afghanistan,” said foreign ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar, adding that “our participation at the meeting will be at the non-official level.”
About why India’s stand had undergone a shift vis-à-vis the Taliban, The Hindu quoted government officials as saying that the decision was the outcome of “close discussions with the Afghanistan government,” and it was felt necessary for India to have a “presence” there.
Analysts see the Modi government’s decision as a significant marker in the Afghan dialogue process, given that India has in the past declined to participate in the Moscow format with the Taliban unless the Afghan government participated.
A Russian proposal to hold the talks on Sept 4 had to be cancelled after the US pulled out, and the Ghani government opposed them, the paper said.