India Government on Thursday, September 12, said any peace process should have “full consent” of Afghanistan government and its citizens, days after US President called off negotiations with the Taliban. External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar was quoted saying, India was very closely following the developments relating to peace initiatives in Afghanistan. He was asked about Donald Trump cancelling a secret meeting with Taliban leaders at his Camp David retreat last week.
Kumar said, “We are following the developments including talks between the US and the Taliban very closely. We are of the view that all sections of Afghan society including legitimately elected government should be part of the peace process.” On September 8, Donald Trump said that it cancelled the secret meeting with the Taliban after the extremist outfit claimed the responsibility for a blast in Kabul which killed a dozen people including a US soldier.
"We have supported the election process which is about to unfold later this month. Our point of view is that any process should respect the constitutional legacy and it should not lead to any ungoverned spaces where terrorists and their proxies can relocate," the MEA spokesperson said. "We are reasonably confident that any decision on the peace process taken by the US and the international community will take into account all these concerns," he added.
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India has been supporting a national peace and reconciliation process which is Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled. In March, India conveyed to the US that it should not withdraw its troops from Afghanistan without putting in place an elected "political structure" to govern the country.
Major powers such as the US, Russia and Iran have been reaching out to the Taliban as part of efforts to push the stalled Afghan peace process. India has been a key stakeholder in the peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan. In a significant move, India had sent two former diplomats in "non-official" capacity to a conference on the Afghan peace process in Moscow last November which was attended by a high-level Taliban delegation. The conference organised by Russia was attended by representatives of Afghanistan as well as from several other countries, including the US, Pakistan and China.
(With inputs from PTI)