India Key Stakeholder in Afghanistan, Says Deputy NSA Misri at Regional Meet, Highlights Terror Concerns

India said on Friday that it remains an important stakeholder in Afghanistan, and urged the Taliban regime that its territory should not be used for training and sheltering terrorists, including those belonging to the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM). India’s deputy national security adviser, Vikram Misri, while participating in the dialogue on Afghanistan’s security and political situation held in Bishkek on Friday, said, “India was and is an important stakeholder in Afghanistan.” India considers it imperative to have a “consensus-based” approach at both levels — regional and international — he added.

The 6th Regional Dialogue of Secretaries of Security Councils/National Security Advisers on Afghanistan took place in the Kyrgyz capital. The meeting also saw representation from the national security heads of Russia, China, Iran, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan.

Participants at the meet. Pic/News18

Misri also reiterated India’s consistent policy in backing Afghanistan’s journey towards peace, emphasising the historical and cultural ties between the two nations.

“India has been consistent and steadfast with its policy in support of peace, security, and stability in Afghanistan. As a contiguous neighbour, India has legitimate economic and security interests in Afghanistan,” he said.

The deputy NSA underlined New Delhi’s concern regarding the possibility of anti-India terror outfits like the Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed under the de facto government of Afghanistan, the Taliban. “Afghan territory should not be used for sheltering, training, planning or financing terrorist acts; specifically, terrorist individuals proscribed by the UN Security Council, including those belonging to the Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed. It is well established that any instability in Afghanistan is a threat to the whole region,” he said.

Msiri highlighted efforts to promote economic cooperation with Afghanistan, including the facilitation of trade through the Chabahar port in Iran. He emphasised the importance of leveraging regional connectivity to promote trade and foster economic growth in Afghanistan. India has called upon Central Asian neighbours to utilise the Chabahar port for maritime trade, underscoring its potential to serve as a gateway for regional commerce.

New Delhi does not recognise the Taliban in Afghanistan and is represented by a technical team including some senior officers from the ministry of external affairs, which engages in conversations with the regime.

Last month, on the question of the head of the Indian technical team meeting with the Taliban in Kabul, MEA spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal said, “We have been attending several meetings on Afghanistan in various formats both at the digital and international levels. You would have seen that recently we also participated in a regional meeting in Kabul where the head of our technical team attended. He apprised the meeting of India’s longstanding friendship with the Afghan people and the humanitarian assistance that we are carrying out in the country,”.

On January 29, the Taliban organised a Regional Cooperation Initiative meeting where representatives and envoys of 12 countries met with the acting foreign minister of the Afghan government, Amir Khan Muttaqi.

Apart from India, the meeting included delegates from Kazakhstan, Türkiye, Russia, China, Iran, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Indonesia, Kyrgyzstan, and Afghanistan.

India’s investment in Afghanistan exceeds USD 3 billion with a presence in nearly 500 projects across all 34 provinces of the country. These projects aim to enhance the lives of Afghan citizens by providing essential services and fostering economic opportunities.

Additionally, India has been a key provider of humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan, offering aid in the form of food, medical supplies, and educational support. India has till now supplied nearly 50,000 tonnes of wheat, 250 tonnes of medical aid, and 28 tonnes of earthquake relief aid.

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