India looks to host NSA-level meet on Afghanistan next month; China, Pakistan invited: Report
India is likely to host a national security advisor-level meeting on Afghanistan in New Delhi next month, which will be the first-of-its-kind dialogue to be hosted by New Delhi, ANI reported. The tentative dates of the proposed in-person dialogue are November 10-11 and the format will be similar to the regional security conference held in Iran in 2019, the reports said. Pakistan and China are likely to be invited to take part in the meeting, apart from Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
The ANI report said that the invitation has been extended to Pakistan's NSA Moeed Yusuf, though there is no official confirmation.
Reports said that the conference was on the cards even before the Taliban takeover of the country. New Delhi was planning to hold a conference on Afghanistan before, but the move was derailed during the pandemic and then the Afghanistan government was toppled by the Taliban.
If Pakistan agrees to attend the NSA-level conference, it would mark the first visit by incumbent NSA Yusuf to India, the report said. It is, however, contrary to Pakistan's policy to attend a conference on Afghanistan where there will be no representation from the Taliban.
The conference will take place after New Delhi and Taliban representatives meet face-to-face in Russia on the Moscow Format, to be held on October 20. There will be no Taliban representative attending New Delhi's conference as reports said that India is wary of hosting the Taliban as the group is yet to address international concerns of inclusivity on the government and human rights by the government.
On the question of recognising the Taliban rule in Afghanistan, 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 Mittal, 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.