Modi, Putin hold 'detailed conversation' on situation in Afghanistan
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke on the phone on Tuesday to discuss the evolving situation in Afghanistan in the aftermath of its siege by the Taliban.
Modi spoke to Putin on the phone about 45 minutes, news agency ANI posted on Twitter.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister also took to Twitter to share snippets of his conversation with Putin.
"Had a detailed and useful exchange of views with my friend President Putin on recent developments in Afghanistan. We also discussed issues on the bilateral agenda, including India-Russia cooperation against COVID-19. We agreed to continue close consultations on important issues," Modi tweeted.
ANI cited Russian government officials to report that Modi and Putin expressed their intention to enhance cooperation on countering the spread of terrorist ideology and drug racket from the territory of Afghanistan. The two leaders reportedly agreed to form a permanent bilateral channel for consultations on issues pertaining to Afghanistan.
On Monday, Modi spoke to German Chancellor Angela Merkel about the unfolding security situation in Afghanistan and its implications on the region and the world, apart from discussing bilateral agenda, including cooperation in vaccines against the Covid-19, fighting climate change and and developing clean energy, etc.
The two leaders stressed the need for maintaining peace and security, and outlined that the repatriation of stranded people from Afghanistan is the urgent priority.
India has evacuated nearly 550 people, including almost 400 of its nationals, from Afghanistan this week and dozens more are expected to be brought home by Tuesday.
Earlier this week, Putin criticised the United States and the NATO allies for sending refugees from Afghanistan to central Asian countries, and said they pose a direct threat to Moscow.
Some central Asian nations, including Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan — which share borders with Afghanistan — have raised concerns over the influx of refugees into their countries after fleeing Taliban regime, over fears that Islamic State fighters and other fundamentalists as well as religious extremists could infiltrate into the countries in the guise of refugees.
Putin's remarks came despite Russia's ambassador to Afghanistan Dmitry Zhirnov praising the Taliban's siege of Kabul and describing their approach as "good, positive and business-like."
Russia has reached out to the Taliban in recent years and hosted its representatives in Moscow several times, the most recent being in July.
India was kept out of a key meeting on Afghanistan that was convened by Russia and saw the participation of Pakistan and China in Qatar earlier this month, reflecting certain divergences between New Delhi and Moscow on the evolving situation in the war-torn country.