(This was originally posted in India Today by Geeta Mohan)
The Regional Security Dialogue on Afghanistan will be hosted by India in New Delhi on November 10. The meeting will be attended by the National Security Advisors (NSA) of different countries and will be chaired by India’s NSA Ajit Doval, as per official sources. The dialogue is being hosted to discuss the overall security situation in Afghanistan after the Taliban took control of the nation. Two similar meetings have been held earlier, one in Iran in September 2018 and the other in December 2019. The third meeting in India could not be held earlier due to the pandemic.
RUSSIA, IRAN TO ATTEND
For the first time, all Central Asian countries, and not just Afghanistan’s immediate land neighbours, are participating in a meeting of this format, official sources said. Russia and Iran have also confirmed their participation. “The enthusiastic response is a manifestation of the importance attached to India’s role in regional efforts to promote peace and security in Afghanistan,” official sources said. They added that the high-level participation in the meeting reflects “widespread and growing concern of regional countries about the situation in Afghanistan and their desire to consult and coordinate with each other”.
CHINA AND PAKISTAN
While invitations have been extended to China and Pakistan too, formal responses are awaited. Pakistan has, through the media, indicated that it will not attend the meeting in India Reacting to this development, official sources said, “Pakistan’s decision is unfortunate, but not surprising. It reflects its mindset of viewing Afghanistan as its protectorate. Pakistan has not attended the previous meetings of this format. Its media comments against India are an unsuccessful attempt to deflect attention from its pernicious role in Afghanistan.”