NEW DELHI (India Hosts Talks on Afghanistan): India welcomed senior security officials from Russia, Iran and five Central Asian countries on Wednesday to discuss the impact of the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan on boycotted talks by Pakistan and China.
A joint statement issued after the meeting stated that the eight participating nations also discussed the threats of terrorism, radicalization and drug trafficking, and the need for humanitarian aid. No details were provided.
India’s National Security Adviser Ajit Doval invited the heads of security of Iran, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.
Afghan representatives were not invited.
Pakistan and China refused to participate, and Pakistani national security adviser Moeed Yusuf called India a spoiler and not a peacemaker in Afghanistan last week.
“This is a time of close consultation with each other,” Doval said in his introductory remarks before the meeting.
He said he hoped the discussions would help people in Afghanistan and improve collective security in the region.
Senior security officials were expected to meet with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Iran hosted the first two editions of the meeting in 2018 and 2019.
Officials from the Indian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Pakistan’s refusal to attend the meeting was regrettable but not surprising and reflected their thinking of seeing Afghanistan as their protectorate.
The meeting highlights India’s efforts to protect its strategic interests in Afghanistan in the light of Pakistan’s growing influence in the region.