Tue. Dec 7th, 2021

India’s arch-rivals Pakistan and China have also refused to attend the Delhi Regional Security Dialogue on Afghanistan.

India is hosting senior security officials from Russia, Iran and five Central Asian countries to discuss the situation in Afghanistan, but no Afghan representative is present.

India’s arch-enemy Pakistan and China also refused to attend the Delhi regional security dialogue on Afghanistan held on Wednesday following the fall of the US-backed government and the Taliban takeover of the country.

India’s national security adviser Ajit Doval has invited security chiefs from Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan to the talks.

“This is a time for close consultation among us,” Doval said in opening remarks before the meeting. He said he hoped the deliberations would help the people of Afghanistan and improve the region’s collective security.

India’s Foreign Ministry (MEA) said in a statement that the meeting would “address the relevant security challenges and support the people of Afghanistan in promoting peace, security and stability”.

The top security officials were expected to meet with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday. The first two issues of the meeting were presented by Iran in 2018 and 2019.

Moeed Yusuf, Pakistan’s national security adviser, called India a “spoiler” last week and not a “peacemaker” in Afghanistan.

India’s MEA officials said Pakistan’s refusal to attend the meeting was “unfortunate but not surprising” and “reflects its attitude towards Afghanistan as its protectorate”.

The meeting underlines India’s efforts to protect its strategic interests in Afghanistan amid Pakistan’s growing influence in the region. Arch-enemies India and Pakistan have long sought to exert influence over Afghanistan to meet their security interests.

India’s leaders fear that the Taliban’s rise to power will benefit Pakistan and fuel a protracted rebellion in Kashmir administered by India.

New Delhi’s relations with Afghanistan are in suspended animation. It has no diplomatic presence in Kabul after evacuating its staff before the final US withdrawal from Afghanistan.

However, on August 31, it held its first official meeting with a Taliban representative in Qatar.

Before the Taliban captured Kabul, India provided Afghan security forces with operational training and military equipment, even though it had no troops on the ground. It was also the region’s largest provider of development aid to Afghanistan.

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