For the first time National Security Advisors (NSA) of all Central Asian nations will be participating in the Delhi Regional Security Dialogue on Afghanistan next week. The meeting in New Delhi is of significance as it comes after the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban in August and Taliban’s efforts to get legitimacy globally.
According to sources, “The meeting is at the level of NSA, and will be chaired by India’s NSA Ajit Doval. Russia and Iran are going to be part of this meet. Invitations have also been extended to Afghanistan’s immediate land neighbours – Pakistan and China. Responses from both countries are still awaited, though, media reports indicate that Pakistan is not expected to attend the meeting.”
Iran hosted two meetings in this format in September 2018 and in December 2019. Unfortunately, due to global pandemic of corona virus the third meeting in this format could not take place in India.
“The response from all the countries who have confirmed their presence has been overwhelming. This is a manifestation of the importance attached to India’s role in regional efforts to promote peace and security in Afghanistan,” explained the source to Financial Express Online.
Why is Pakistan not attending the meeting?
“Pakistan has not participated in the previous meetings which had taken place in Iran. And its decision not to attend is unfortunate. It has made comments against India and tried to deflect attention from its destructive role in Afghanistan,” opined the source.
The participation of the NSAs from Russia, Iran and all Central Asian countries next week in a meeting hosted by India reflects the growing concern of countries about the violent situation in Afghanistan. China has yet to respond to the invite for the meeting. Russian NSA Nikolay Patrushev is expected to be here next week, but the Taliban is not invited. This will be Russia’s NSA’s second visit to India in two months. The last time he was here was in September for a high-level inter-governmental dialogue on Afghanistan.
“India has a major role to play. All the countries are keen that there should be peace and a government which is inclusive in that country,” said the source.
Why is the situation in Afghanistan a meter of concern for Central Asian countries?
Smaller Central Asian countries are more susceptible to terrorist’s threats and radicalization. And they are the ones which fear instability in their neighbourhood. There has been an influx of refugees from Afghanistan and there are also fears that militants could enter the region under the guise of seeking asylum.
And, the Central Asian states are going to depend on Russia for their security concerns if the violence and instability in Afghanistan continues.
As reported earlier, Russia had hosted a meeting on Afghanistan last month and India was at the table for talks.
For India, Pakistan’s role in that country has been a matter of concern as it fears that the terrorists could use that country to launch attacks.
Pakistan has been backing the Taliban and has been pushing to get them international legitimacy by raising it on various forums. Recently, foreign minister of Pakistan SM Qureshi was in Kabul and had meetings with the Taliban top leadership.
India is still waiting for Pakistan’s response to its proposal of sending humanitarian aid to Afghanistan through Wagha border. Kabul is ready to accept aid from India, this is following the meeting with Indian officials in Moscow.