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India, Russia recognise common threats emanating from Afghanistan: Envoy

New Delhi: Ahead of crucial Moscow format talks involving Taliban on Wednesday (October 20), the Indian envoy to Russia D B Venkatesh Varma has said both India and Russia “recognize common threats emanating from Afghanistan probably more than any other set of countries”.

Moscow format of consultations on Afghanistan involves 10 countries, including India, Pakistan, China, and will focus on the humanitarian crisis emerging in the country and the formation of an inclusive government. A joint statement will be adopted after the meeting that starts around 12-noon local time.

Speaking to Russia’s Kommersant newspaper, the Indian envoy pointed out that while, “India and Russia, I believe, may have travelled along different roads – we were not part of the Doha & Troika processes but our destination is common” when it comes to the ongoing developments in Afghanistan.

Both India and Russia have not recognized the govt announced by the Taliban as worries mount over humanitarian crisis emerging in the country with the onset of the winters.

Since the fall of the Afghan govt led by Ashraf Ghani and the Taliban’s takeover of the country in August, both countries have had a number of conversations on the issues.

Russian President Putin spoke to Prime Minister Modi in August following which Secretary of the Russian Security Council Gen Patrushev visited India and had discussions with Indian National Security Advisor Ajit Doval.

Asked if the Taliban will wipe out terrorism from Afghan territory, envoy Varma said, “In the last several months, unfortunately, we have seen that Afghanistan is a story of broken promises. Whether the Taliban will stand by their commitments and back words with deeds – we will wait and see.”

International concern has been mounting over Afghan territory being used by terror groups. United Nations Security Council Resolution 2593 passed under India’s presidency of the security council in August specially mentioned that the country’s territory should not be used to shelter and train terrorists among other things.

Interestingly, the Indian Envoy pointed out how, “India was not allowed to participate in” in Troika plus talks on Afghanistan involving Russia, US, China, plus Pakistan. It is well known that Islamabad was not keen on New Delhi to be present in the talks led by Russia.

He also highlighted while Troika plus talks and Doha process “pursued certain objectives” when it comes to Afghanistan “reality turned out to be quite different from what was originally envisaged”, tangentially referring to their failure.

Meanwhile, in first official confirmation by the Indian side, the envoy said, “India will be hosting a high-level meeting of NSAs of regional countries in Afghanistan in November”.

India has sent invites to Russia, China, Pakistan, Iran, Uzbekistan and other countries in the region for the talks which is seen as a significant outreach by New Delhi on the issue.