India, Russia hold NSA-level talks over Afghan situation

New Delhi: A high-level meeting between India and Russia took place over the situation in Afghanistan. The India-Russia inter-governmental consultations on Afghanistan were led by National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval and his Russian counterpart Nikolai Patrushev.

Doval and Patrushev discussed security implications of the Taliban’s capture of power for India, Russia and the Central Asian region as a number of dreaded terror groups including Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) having a strong presence in the war-torn country, people familiar with the meeting said.

A Russian read-out of the delegation-level talks stated that attention was paid to intensifying joint work by “special services and military bodies” of both countries and that emphasis was given on further interaction on the “anti-terrorist track”, combating illegal migration and drug trafficking.

Three weeks after taking control, the Taliban announced a “caretaker” government, saying it would be led by Mohammad Hasan Akhund.

“As a follow-up to the telephone conversation between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on August 24, an exchange of views took place on the military, political and socio-economic situation in Afghanistan,” the Russian read-out said.

It said the two sides agreed to coordinate on the Afghan issue in a multilateral format.

“They also touched upon humanitarian and migration problems in this country, as well as prospects for the Russian-Indian joint efforts aimed at creating conditions for launching a peaceful settlement process on the basis of an intra-Afghan dialogue,” it said.

“The importance of defining parameters of the future state structure of Afghanistan by the Afghans themselves, as well as the need to prevent the escalation of violence, social, ethnic and confessional contradictions in the country, were emphasized,” it added.

Both sides agreed that there is a lot of uncertainty, as the situation is evolving rapidly in Afghanistan, a statement read, adding that the two sides discussed concrete forms of future bilateral cooperation among security agencies, including close coordination, upgrading consultations and exchange of information. (India Today)

Both India and Russia share similar concerns on terrorism that could flow out of Afghanistan. There was a convergence of views between the two sides on all major issues and common threats:

– Need for the Taliban to adhere to promises;

– Presence of international terrorist groups in Afghanistan and threat from terrorism to Central Asia and India;

– Islamic radicalization and extremism;

– Flow of weapons to terrorist groups and smuggling across Afghan borders, – High chances of Afghanistan becoming a hub of opium production and trafficking.

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