India reminds Afghanistan of Taliban 'red lines' | delhi | Hindustan Times
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India reminds Afghanistan of Taliban 'red lines'

delhi Updated: Aug 24, 2010 23:22 IST
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Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday conveyed India's concerns over the proposed plan to reintegrate the Taliban to Afghan Foreign Minister Zalmay Rassoul and said New Delhi was against any external interference in Afghan affairs.

Rassoul, who arrived in India on a three-day visit on Tuesday, called on Manmohan Singh and updated him on the ongoing efforts of the Afghan government to bring peace to the country, informed sources said.

He also told the prime minister about the Sep 18 parliamentary election and the preparations for the event.

Manmohan Singh wished Afghanistan success and underlined New Delhi's willingness to continue assisting in the country's reconstruction.

The prime minister said the plan to integrate the Taliban should observe certain red lines, a position India enunciated at the July 20 Kabul conference.

New Delhi feels that only those elements of the Taliban who renounce violence, cut off links with terrorism and accept the Afghan constitution should be accommodated.

In a veiled reference to Pakistan, the prime minister stressed that India was opposed to any external interference in Afghan affairs and reiterated that the peace process should be Afghan-led and Afghan-driven.

The first stand-alone visit by Rassoul to India as foreign minister comes soon after Afghan National Security Adviser Rangin Dadfar Spanta accused Pakistan's military-intelligence establishment of harbouring the Taliban and Al Qaeda.

India and Afghanistan will hold extensive discussions on the evolving Afghan situation when External Affairs Minister SM Krishna meets Rassoul on Wednesday for delegation-level talks.

Krishna is likely to convey that the Taliban re-integration process should factor in India's concerns as it continues to get intelligence reports about plans of Pakistan-aided militant outfits like the Haqqani network to target Indian assets in Afghanistan, the sources said.

The two sides will also discuss the role of a regional approach involving neighbours of Afghanistan in stabilizing that country.

India has been in close touch with Russia and Iran over closer cooperation in Afghanistan. The regional approach will be discussed, the sources said.