India offers Taliban officials course in economics, leadership

New Delhi: India will include Taliban officials in a crash course on its culture, legislation and business climate, underscoring New Delhi’s continued interest in staying engaged with Afghanistan’s new government.

The four-day virtual course that started this week is called “Immersing with Indian Thoughts,” and will be taught by the Indian Institute of Management in the southern city of Kozhikode. The elite management school is working with the India Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) Programme, as part of India’s Ministry of External Affairs’ regular roster of training.

“All those working for the current government can receive the online training after a process of selection by relevant authorities,” said Suhail Shaheen, a senior Taliban diplomat in Doha, Qatar, where the group has a political office. The Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs recently released a circular inviting diplomats and personnel to register for the course.

New Delhi doesn’t formally recognize the Taliban government, which seized power in 2021 in the wake of the US exit from Afghanistan. It did, however, re-open its embassy in Kabul last year. India has long been concerned about Afghan soil being used by its neighbor and archrival Pakistan for terror attacks against New Delhi, especially in its restive portion of Kashmir.

The participants will learn about India’s “economic environment, regulatory ecosystem, leadership insights, social and historical backdrop, cultural heritage, legal and environmental landscape, consumer mindsets and business risks,” according to the ITEC website.

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