India again kept out of extended troika meet on Afghanistan called by Russia
India has again been kept out of a key meeting on Afghanistan convened by Russia that will see the participation of Pakistan, reflecting divergences between New Delhi and Moscow on the rapidly evolving situation in the war-torn country.
The “extended troika” meet, to be held in Qatar on August 11, will be joined by special envoys from Russia, the US, China and Pakistan. Qatar will host another meeting between the Afghan side and regional and international partners this month.
The extended troika meeting was called by Russia to push intra-Afghan talks to find a political settlement in Afghanistan at a time when the Taliban have launched a massive offensive that has recently been expanded to cities such as Kandahar, Herat and Lashkargah.
The extended troika held its last two meetings in Moscow on March 18 and in Doha on April 30. The Indian side has taken up the inclusion of Pakistan – which New Delhi contends is backing the Taliban – at these meetings with the Russian side, people familiar with developments said on condition of anonymity.
Russia has said it keeps India informed about developments on Afghanistan under the troika format, which includes the US and China, though it has shown little inclination of including India in discussions under the external troika even after acknowledging India’s stakes in Afghanistan, the people said.
While India has backed the government of President Ashraf Ghani, it has repeatedly opposed the imposition of any regime by force. However, the Russian side appears opposed to the continuation of the Ghani government and favours an interim set-up