India To Host Crucial Dialogue On Afghanistan, Invites China And Pak

The Taliban took over Afghanistan after US troops pulled out

New Delhi:

India will host a high-level regional security dialogue over the developments in Afghanistan following the Taliban’s takeover, sources have said. The Delhi Regional Security Dialogue, which was held in September 2018 and December 2019, was not held last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The meeting to be held on November 10 will be chaired by National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, sources said.

There has been an overwhelming response to India’s invitation, sources said, adding central Asian countries as well as Russia and Iran have confirmed participation. This is for the first time that all central Asian countries, not just Afghanistan’s immediate land neighbours, are participating in this format of dialogue.

“The enthusiastic response is a manifestation of the importance attached to India’s role in regional efforts to promote peace and security in Afghanistan,” the source said.

China and Pakistan have been invited, but their replies are yet to come. Pakistan has, however, indicate to the media that it won’t attend.

“Pakistan’s decision is unfortunate, but not surprising. It reflects its mindset of viewing Afghanistan as its protectorate. Pakistan has not attended the previous meetings of this format. Its media comments against India are an unsuccessful attempt to deflect attention from its pernicious role in Afghanistan,” said the source, asking not to be named.

The high-level participation in next week’s meeting hosted by India reflects a widespread and growing concern of regional countries about the situation in Afghanistan and their desire to consult and coordinate with each other, sources said, adding India has an important role to play in this process.

The Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan after US troops left the country following a 20-year war against terror has been particularly concerning for India, which has long maintained that Pakistan would likely use Afghanistan for terror attacks in Jammu and Kashmir.

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