India is in a dilemma on whether to attend a peace conference on Afghanistan being hosted by Moscow on 4 September since the Ashraf Ghani regime in Kabul has decided not to participate in it.
Asked if India would participate in the conference, informed sources said a final decision on the invitation was yet to be taken.
New Delhi is wondering whether any useful purpose would be served by the peace conference in view of Afghanistan’s decision to stay away from it.
India would closely watch developments related to the meet over the next few days before deciding on its participation. It might eventually send a middle level official to the conference for the sake of its friendship with Russia, sources added.
This is the first time that the Taliban has been invited to a peace meet on Afghanistan. The terrorist outfit has said it would send a senior delegation to Moscow for the meet.
This has upset the government in Afghanistan. Kabul has conveyed to Moscow that it could not attend the conference since it would first hold ‘direct talks’ with the Taliban without the involvement of foreign powers.
The United States too has declined to participate in the conference, saying it would be an exercise in futility in resolving the Afghan imbroglio. Russia has invited 12 countries, including China, India and Pakistan to the meet.
The Russian government has been maintaining a close contact with the Taliban despite the violence unleashed by the outfit in Afghanistan. Reports in the media have even suggested that Moscow has been militarily assisting the Taliban.
Meanwhile, India, Iran and Afghanistan are said to be considering holding a trilateral meeting in Kabul next month to discuss cooperation among them, particularly on the Chabahar Port, as part of their commitment to rebuild the war-torn nation. The meeting is expected to be held at the deputy ministers’ or foreign secretaries’ level.
The trilateral meeting will be held even as the second set of US imposed sanctions loom over Iran. The second set of sanctions, which includes sale of oil as well as use of ports, will be effective from 4 November. Both India and Afghanistan are hopeful that the Chabahar Port will be kept out of the purview of the sanctions.