New Delhi: Diplomats of United States, Russia, China and Pakistan have met in Beijing over a weekend to discuss the peace process in Afghanistan with the Taliban. However, India’s participation in the talks is unseen. The absence of Indian diplomats in the crucial talks came as a surprise with the amount of Indian investment and interests in Afghanistan.
While warning against an indifferent attitude of Indian government towards peace talks in Afghanistan, former Afghanistan Ambassador to India and presidential contender Shaida Abdali has urged India to push for elections in Afghanistan that are consistently being postponed.
“It is necessary that a good neighbour like India remain engaged on major international and regional conferences that deal with Afghanistan and the peace process. India must remain an active participant so as to ensure that we don’t reverse the gains of the last 18 years,” Abdali told the Hindu during his visit.
“One of the most critical gains post 2001 is our democratic process which must not be affected without full international guarantees that Afghanistan will not reserve to pre-2001 dark era. It is necessary that India remain engaged as a trusted country versus a disruptive one. In this uncertainty, with no viable solution in sight, India must stay engaged,” he said.
Earlier, talking to the TOI, Abdali had said, “India's 18-year-old effort to strengthen ties with Afghanistan should not be lost at this juncture. India's indifference to the evolving situation in Afghanistan will likely cost it in the long run.”
According to the sources, India has always supported the importance of holding elections in Afghanistan, however, the US ambassador to Afghanistan John Bass, on Thursday, said elections in Afghanistan, to be held on September 28, could be postponed until the peace talks with Taliban concluded.
According to the US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad, who directed the discussions has claimed that though there is still uncertainty about the presidential elections in Afghanistan, substantial progress has been made on issues like the intra-Afghan dialogue, Taliban guarantees on terrorism, withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, and a possible ceasefire.