New Delhi: India on Thursday said terror safe havens and sanctuaries need to be eliminated for enduring peace and stability in Afghanistan. Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar, at a media briefing, also said that for an “inclusive political settlement” in Afghanistan, it is important that the presidential elections there take place as per schedule this year.
“We are very closely following the developments related to the peace and reconciliation efforts in Afghanistan which have been undertaken by different stakeholders. India supports efforts which can achieve an inclusive political settlement,” he said. “We will participate in all formats of talks which could bring about peace and security in that region,” Kumar said.
Asked if an official representation will be sent to talks on Afghanistan where the Taliban is also present, he said it is a decision that needs to be taken on a case-by-case basis.
For enduring peace and stability in Afghanistan terror safe havens and sanctuaries need to be eliminated, Kumar said. India has been asserting that Pakistan allows terrorists to operate from its soil to attack neighbouring countries.
His remarks come after the Taliban held a meeting with the US in Qatar earlier this month.
Major powers like the US and Russia 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 Afghan peace process in Moscow in November last year 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.
India has been maintaining a policy of not engaging with the Taliban and pressing for an Afghan-owned and Afghan-led peace initiative to bring peace and stability in the war-ravaged country.