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Thursday, July 29, 2021

MEA actively promotes India’s Interest in Afghanistan, Opens a Window to Reach out to the Taliban

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The Ministry of External Affairs said that India is in constant touch with various stakeholders in Afghanistan to put into effect the development and reconstruction work in Afghanistan. 

Arindam Bagchi, spokesperson of the External affairs ministry responded to the question of whether India has opened channels of communication with Taliban factions and leaders, and whether there had been a change in India’s foreign policy towards Afghanistan. 

The MEA did not clearly authenticate a major shift in India’s foreign policy towards Afghanistan. The external affairs ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi referred to External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar’s involvement at the inaugural ceremony of the Intra-Afghan talks with Taliban leaders in Doha last year. Arindam Bagchi said India has been involved with Afghans to support all peace initiatives in Afghanistan. 

There has been an iterative push to accelerate the Afghan peace process. Now when the United States troops have withdrawn from Afghanistan, India is trying to engage with Taliban and Afghan leaders. Last year India attended Intra-Afghan talks in Doha. Jaishankar last year tweeted that the friendship of our peoples is a testimony to our history with Afghanistan. India has implemented more than four hundred development projects in Afghanistan.

In Doha on 29 February 2020 a deal was signed between US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad and Taliban political chief Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as a witness. The signing of the ‘peace deal between the US and the Taliban formally put an end to the 18-year war in Afghanistan. India maintained that it supports a peace and reconciliation process which is Afghan-led, Afghan-owned, and Afghan-controlled. 

India has played a significant role in the restoration of peace and stability in Afghanistan. India has invested $2 billion in aid and reconstruction activities in the country. Since 2016, India has further scaled up its military assistance. 

India’s move to open channels of communication with Afghan Taliban factions and leaders marks an important change from India’s earlier position on the matter of engaging with the Taliban faction. 

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