'India supports all peace initiatives in Afghanistan'

'India supports all peace initiatives in Afghanistan'
A NATO trooper having a chat with locals in Afghanistan. [Image for representational purpose only]Source: Afghanistantimes [Creative Commons]

New Delhi: India on Thursday said it has a steadfast policy to support a sovereign, democratic and peaceful Afghanistan and it is in touch with various stakeholders within and outside Afghanistan including regional and international partners.

The comments by the Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan in Rajya Sabha came a day after India and the US strongly pitched for an immediate intra-Afghan peace process to end the violence in Afghanistan and find a political settlement.

Muraleedharan said India supports all peace initiatives leading towards a lasting political settlement through an inclusive Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled process.

The Taliban has been making rapid advances across Afghanistan by resorting to widespread violence since the US began withdrawing its troops on May 1.

The US has already pulled back the majority of its forces and is looking to complete the drawdown by August 31.

"As a contiguous neighbour and strategic partner, India has a steadfast policy to support sovereign, democratic and peaceful Afghanistan, where the interest of all sections of Afghan society including women, children and minorities are protected," he said.

"India supports all peace initiatives leading towards a lasting political settlement through an inclusive Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan controlled process which would lead to peace and stability in the region," the minister said.

He also referred to External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar's online participation in September last year in the inaugural session of the intra-Afghan negotiations in Doha

"The external affairs minister participated in the inaugural session of the intra-Afghan negotiations in Doha held in September 2020. The government is in touch with various stakeholders within and outside Afghanistan, including regional and international partners," Muraleedharan said.

On September 12, an Indian delegation attended the inaugural ceremony of the intra-Afghan negotiations featuring various stakeholders including the Afghan government and the Taliban in Doha. Jaishankar joined it through video conference.

The evolving situation in Afghanistan figured prominently during talks bewteen Jaishankar and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken here on Wednesday.

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