New Delhi: Even as India has accepted an invitation to attend the Moscow Format talks in the Russian capital, where a Taliban delegation will be present, New Delhi is reportedly to hold talks at the National Security Advisor level on Afghanistan, to which Pakistan has also been invited.
India is sending a Joint Secretary level diplomat to the October 20 talks in Moscow, which will be participated by China, Pakistan, Iran, and other countries.
Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said on Thursday that India has received an invitation for the Moscow Format meeting in Afghanistan.
“We will be participating in it, it’s likely that we will have it at the Joint Secretary level,” he told the media.
The Taliban have confirmed their participation at the talks, which are the first to be held since the Islamist group took over Kabul on August 15.
The Moscow format was established in 2017 on the basis of a six-party consultation mechanism of the special envoys of Russia, Afghanistan, India, Iran, China and Pakistan.
Russia is also planning to convene a meeting of the Troika Plus – Russia, the US, China, and Pakistan – on Tuesday, ahead of the Moscow Format, to discuss the latest developments in Afghanistan.
Signalling its intent to be an active participant in Afghanistan and its rehabilitation, as in the past, India is reportedly convening a meeting of NSAs on Afghanistan in November.
India has reportedly invited Pakistan NSA, Moeed Yusuf, to participate in the NSA level talks, along with the NSAs of other countries, including Russia.
If Pakistan accepts the invite, it will be Moeed Yusuf’s first official visit to India.
India has stated that its policy towards Afghanistan is guided by its friendship with the Afghan people.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, addressing the UN High-Level Meeting on the Humanitarian Situation in Afghanistan in September, had said that India’s approach to Afghanistan “has always been guided by its historical friendship with its people. This will continue to be the case.”
Underlining the grave humanitarian situation in Afghanistan, he had said that India is willing to stand by the Afghan people, just as in the past.
Stressing that one of the main challenges is efficient logistics, Jaishankar said that it is essential that humanitarian assistance providers are accorded unimpeded, unrestricted and direct access to Afghanistan.
India has invested more than the US $3 billion for the welfare of the people of Afghanistan, and undertaken 500 projects in critical areas of power, water supply, road connectivity, healthcare, education, agriculture and capacity building, across all the provinces.