India to take part in ‘non-official’ meeting with Taliban in Russia today (PTI Photo)
India on Friday will be part of the ‘non-official level’ meeting held by Russia on Afghanistan. In the Moscow-format meeting, representatives of the Afghan Taliban radical movement will also be present.
“We are aware that the Russian Federation is hosting a meeting in Moscow on 9 November on Afghanistan. Our participation at the meeting will be at the non-official level,” Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar told reporters on Thursday.
Last week, the Russian Foreign Ministry had confirmed the participation of Taliban in the meeting. This is the first time India will be part of a meeting with the Afghan Taliban.
India has been a strong supporter of the peace and reconciliation efforts in Afghanistan to restore peace, stability, and prosperity in the war-torn country. Kumar, however, asserted that such efforts should be made with the complete control of the Afghanistan government.
“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,” he said.
Besides India, Russian had also sent invitations to Iran, China, Pakistan, the US, and some other countries to take part in the meeting.
Earlier this year, Russia had proposed a similar meeting on September 4. However, the meeting was called off at the last moment by Afghanistan government citing Taliban’s rejection to the message of peace and direct negotiations.
The participation of India came after the intensive talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Both India and Russia had extended their support to the Afghanistan government’s efforts to preserve peace and stability in the country.