India reiterates support for Afghan-led peace process
The Afghan National Security Council said in a tweet on Thursday that Mohib and the Indian envoy had discussed the peace process.Updated: May 25, 2019 00:01 IST
India has informed Afghanistan that there has been no change in its stance that any peace process in the war-torn country should be “Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled” following reports that a recent speech by external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj had indicated a shift.
The message was conveyed by Indian ambassador Vinay Kumar when he met Afghan National Security Adviser Hamdullah Mohib in Kabul on Thursday, people familiar with developments said.
The Afghan National Security Council said in a tweet on Thursday that Mohib and the Indian envoy had discussed the peace process. “Amb Kumar reaffirmed India’s support for an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned & Afghan-controlled peace process leading to stability,” the tweet said.
Kumar also said recent media reports “don’t reflect official view of the government”, the tweet added.
While addressing a meeting of foreign ministers of member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation in Kyrgyzstan’s capital Bishkek on Wednesday, Swaraj had said: “India stands committed to any process, which can help Afghanistan, emerge as a united, peaceful, secure, stable, inclusive and economically vibrant nation, with guaranteed gender and human rights.”
Since the speech did not make any reference to India’s stated policy that such a peace process should be Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled, some media reports had concluded that Swaraj’s remarks indicated a shift in position.
An official familiar with developments, who didn’t want to be named, described the reports as misleading and said: “There is no change in India’s consistent position on an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled peace and reconciliation process.”
The official said India had supported all processes – including the Kabul process, Heart of Asia-Istanbul process, the Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan (RECCA) process and the Moscow Format talks – aimed at bringing peace, security and stability to Afghanistan. But even while participating in these processes, India had insisted on Afghan-led efforts, the official added.
A second official, who too didn’t want to be identified, said there was also no change on India’s stance against the formation of an interim government in Kabul. “The presidential election should be held as scheduled,” this official said.
While the Indian government is yet to take a position on any form of engagement with the Taliban, the foreign policy establishment is wary about the creation of any sort of interim set-up that would include the Taliban, whose leaders are mainly based in Pakistan.