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Kabul peace process must be Afghan-led and owned: India

Ashok Tuteja | New Delhi |

Participating in the six-nation talks on Afghanistan in Moscow, India made it clear that any peace and reconciliation process in the war-ravaged nation must be Afghan-led and own and underlined that the government in Kabul should be given the freedom to decide whom to engage in direct talks.

At the same time, it was essential to end all forms of terrorism and extremism that beset Afghanistan and the region and to ensure denial of territory or any other support, safe havens or sanctuaries to any terrorist group or individual in countries of the region, New Delhi opined.

view is being interpreted as an indirect endorsement of Kabul’s position that Pakistan is providing support to terrorism in Afghanistan.

Apart from India and Russia, yesterday’s meeting in Moscow was attended by top officials from China, Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan. India was represented by Gopal Baglay, Joint Secretary in-charge of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran at the MEA.

According to MEA spokesperson Vikas Swarup, the consultations brought together regional countries, which have important stake in peace and security in Afghanistan, to exchange views on promoting security as well as peace and reconciliation in that country.

India expressed the hope that the initiative for these consultations, which mark a new beginning, would help promote regional cooperation for stabilising the situation in Afghanistan, protecting its unity and integrity and pursuing peace and reconciliation.

India stressed that an end to violence and terrorism was fundamental to promoting security and creating environment necessary for peace. It also underlined that it was up to the Afghan Government to decide whom to engage in direct talks. These efforts could only be facilitated by friends and well-wishers of Afghanistan.

India pointed out that regional efforts to promote security, peace and development in Afghanistan could benefit from wider international collaboration and cooperation, wherever Afghanistan benefits from them.