NSA Doval talks defence ties with Iran Kazakhstan, Russia counterparts
India’s National Security Adviser (NSA) Ajit Doval discussed the situation in Afghanistan and bilateral security cooperation with his counterparts from Iran, Kazakhstan and Russia on the margins of a regional security meeting on Wednesday.
Doval met Iran’s supreme national security council secretary, Rear Admiral Ali Shamkhani, Kazakhstan’s national security committee chairman Karim Massimov and Russia’s security council secretary Nikolai Patrushev after the Delhi Regional Security Dialogue on Afghanistan.
The three bilateral meetings were substantive and there were detailed discussions on Afghanistan and on bilateral relations, people familiar with the matter said on condition of anonymity.
Doval and Patrushev discussed future high-level exchanges, defence cooperation and deepening interaction between the national security councils of India and Russia, the people said. This was Patrushev’s second visit to India since the Taliban assumed power in Afghanistan in mid-August.
A statement issued by the Russian side said Doval and Patrushev had discussed plans for further India-Russia cooperation in security and touched upon a “number of regional problems”. It added, “Special attention was paid to cooperation on various information security issues.”
At the meeting with Shamkhani, the two sides discussed the situation in Afghanistan, bilateral trade and the current state of India-Iran relations. Iran had hosted the two previous meetings of the regional security dialogue on Afghanistan and Doval and Shamkhani discussed ways to carry forward the process.
Discussions between Doval and his Kazakh counterpart focused on Afghanistan, and practical steps for enhancing connectivity and trade routes between the two countries.
The NSAs and security council chiefs of the seven countries that attended the Delhi Regional Security Dialogue on Afghanistan had a “very substantive exchange” during a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The people said Modi shared India’s perspective on Afghanistan with the security officials.
The people also said the Delhi Regional Security Dialogue had exceeded India’s expectations, as the foreign security officials easily arrived at a complete consensus that enabled the issuance of the joint Delhi Declaration on Afghanistan. The declaration said the eight countries were committed to combat terrorism emanating from Afghanistan.
The foreign delegations appreciated the opportunity to engage in frank and open discussions on Afghanistan, the people said. Since this is the only dialogue at the level of NSAs, there was unanimity on the need to continue with this mechanism and have regular consultations, the people added.
The people also said there was an “extraordinary degree of convergence” in assessments of the situation in Afghanistan by the eight countries and the principal challenges in the war-torn country and the region.
These challenges include the security situation, heightened risk of terrorism and an impending humanitarian crisis. The security officials pointed to the need to provide humanitarian aid and emphasised that land and air routes should be made available and no one should impede the process of providing assistance.