(This was originally posted in India Today by Kamaljit Kaur Sandhu)
MEA on reports of India opening up channels with Taliban has elaborated that it supports peace talks in the wake of US forces pulling back. MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi has said, “We support all peace initiatives and have been engaged with several stakeholders including regional countries.” The move marks a significant shift from New Delhi’s position of not engaging with the Afghan Taliban.
This is the backdrop of India opening up channels of communication with Afghan Taliban factions and leaders, including reportedly Mullah Baradar. With the Biden-led US Government having worked out an exit plan, American troops from Afghanistan over the coming months, completing the military exit by the 20th anniversary of September 11, 2001, attacks have drawn the superpower into its longest war.
The MEA spokesperson said that it supports peace initiatives in Afghanistan. Arindam Bagchi said, “Our relations with Afghanistan are historical and multi-faceted. We have been engaging with Afghans across ethnicities. As a friendly neighbour, we are concerned about peace and security in Afghanistan and the region. We support all peace initiatives and have been engaged with several stakeholders including regional countries.”
As you are aware, EAM participated in the inaugural ceremony of the Afghan talks held in Doha last year. A senior official delegation attended the talks in Doha. In the recent past, we have had visits by multiple Afghan leaders to India, and we have also had official visits to Kabul. We are in touch with various stakeholders, as I said, in pursuance of our long-term commitment towards development and reconstruction of Afghanistan,” said the MEA spokesperson.