India on Thursday confirmed its participation in the meeting being hosted by Russia on Afghanistan. The Government however emphasized on its participation be called as “non-official”. The meeting will be held on November 9, 2018 in Moscow, Russia where the representatives of Taliban will be present.
As this is the first time for India to share a common platform with Taliban, the meeting is sure to catch many eyeballs. In response to queries about India's participation in the meeting, ministry of external affairs Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said, "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," he said. India supports all efforts at peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan that will preserve unity and plurality, and bring security, stability and prosperity to the country, he said. "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," Kumar asserted. According to Russian news agency Tass, this is for the second time Russia is attempting to bring regional powers together while discovering ways for establishing peace in war-torn Afghanistan.
The first such meeting, proposed for September 4 of this year, was called off at the last moment after the Afghan government pulled out, describing its involvement in the Moscow meeting as "unnecessary" as the Taliban had "disrespected internationally sanctioned principles and rejected the message of peace and direct negotiations."
According to the Russian foreign ministry, invitations to take part in the event had been sent to Afghanistan, India, Iran, China, Pakistan, the US and some other countries.
Sources said Amar Sinha, former secretary in MEA who also served as India's Ambasaddor to Afghanistan, and TCA Raghavan, former Indian high commissioner to Pakistan, will represent New Delhi at the Moscow talks.