India has got an invite for the Moscow Format meeting on Afghanistan on October 20 and it will participate in the deliberations, the Ministry of External Affairs said on Thursday. This will be the first Moscow format dialogue since the takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban in August. While India had its first formal contact with the Taliban in Doha on August 31, the Moscow Format is likely to be the first formal contact between New Delhi and the Taliban government after an interim Cabinet was announced by them.
Asked about the meeting, Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said, “We have received an invitation for the Moscow Format meeting on Afghanistan on October 20. We will be participating in it.” “I don’t have a final confirmation as to who would be attending but it is likely that we will have (participation) at the joint secretary level,” he said. Russia has been holding the ‘Moscow Format’ of talks since 2017 to address Afghan issues. Several rounds of talks have been held in Moscow since 2017
On any humanitarian assistance India is extending or has extended to Afghanistan, Bagchi said India’s policy towards Afghanistan is guided by its friendship with the Afghan people. India has in the past provided assistance both for infrastructure as well as for humanitarian purposes, he said. “Coming specifically to humanitarian assistance you would recall that the UN secretary-general had convened a meeting on the subject on September 13 in which External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar participated. In his intervention… our approach to the issue of humanitarian assistance was laid out very clearly,” he said
“This includes India’s willingness to continue to stand by the Afghan people, the need for the international community to create the best possible enabling environment, the unimpeded, unrestricted and direct access to humanitarian assistance providers and nondiscriminatory distribution,” Bagchi said.