1st Moscow Format after Taliban takeover on October 20. India says it will attend
The ministry of external affairs on Thursday said India will participate in the Moscow Format meeting on October 20, the first after the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan. The participation will be at the joint secretary level, the ministry has confirmed. This will be the second time New Delhi will be face to face with the Taliban after the group toppled the Ashraf Ghani government in a coup on August 15, and the first meeting after the Taliban announced its Cabinet.
Moscow Format is a negotiation mechanism established in 2017 to address the issues of Afghanistan. It includes countries like Afghanistan, China, Pakistan, Iran and India. The United States too had participated in Moscow Format before. This is not the first time that the Taliban will be invited to the platform, but the first time after they have their government in Afghanistan.
Amid international appeal for an inclusive government in Afghanistan, Russia has decided to continue its Moscow Format. The Taliban too are looking for international recognition while the countries are buying time before recognising the Taliban government in Afghanistan.
On international platforms, India has clarified its stance that it will stand by the Afghan people. PM Modi has urged the international community to ensure that Afghan territory does not become a source of radicalisation and terrorism.
The first official contact between New Delhi and the Taliban was on August 31 when the ambassador of India to Qatar, Deepak Mittar, met Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanekzai, the head of Taliban's political office in Doha. That meeting took place at the Embassy of India in Doha at the request of the Taliban side.