MEA Says India Participated In Meeting With Taliban At A Non-Official Level, But No Talks Were Held With Terrorist Group

MEA Says India Participated In Meeting With Taliban At A Non-Official Level, But No Talks Were Held With Terrorist GroupPakistani Taliban (The New Indian Express)

Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Friday (9 November) clarified that there was no direct conversation between it and Taliban in the meeting held in Moscow and the participation was on a “non-official level”, The Tribune has reported.

TCA Raghavan and Amar Sinha represented India at a “non-official level” at the Moscow format of talks on Afghanistan. Raghavan and Sinha had served as Indian ambassadors to Pakistan and Afghanistan respectively.

The meeting was attended by a delegation from the political office of the Taliban in Doha led by its head Stanakzai.

However, the representatives of India did not speak at the meeting, where the main topic of discussion, according to a Russian government release, was the question of the speedy launch of a direct inter-Afghan dialogue on peace in order to stabilise the situation in Afghanistan.

Opposition leaders including Omar Abdullah had questioned the move of the government in a tweet by asking that, if the government was open to a ‘non-official’ participation in a dialogue which included Taliban, then why not a ‘non-official’ dialogue with separatist outfits in Jammu and Kashmir?

MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar gave a clarification on the matter and said, “The process is consistent with our policy of Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan- controlled and also with participation of the government of Afghanistan.”

“We will participate in any such process and we made it clear that our participation will be at the non-official level,” he said.

“Where did we say that there will be talks with the Taliban? We just said we will participate in a meeting on Afghanistan hosted by Russia,” Raveesh added.