India was among 10 regional countries that participated in a meeting of diplomatic representatives convened by the Taliban in Kabul on Monday, signalling the increasing engagements with a regime that has not been recognised by any country including New Delhi yet. .
According to reports, the meeting dubbed as “Afghanistan’s Regional Cooperation Initiative” was addressed by Taliban acting foreign minister Amir Khan Muttaqi, and was also attended by diplomats from Russia, China, Iran, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Turkey and Indonesia. Russia was represented by its special representative for Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov.
India’s Ministry of External Affairs hasn’t issued any official statement about the meeting, which came days after the Indian embassy in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) invited the acting Afghan envoy Badruddin Haqqani to the Republic Day celebrations in Abu Dhabi.
According to the Afghan media, Taliban acting foreign minister Amir Khan Muttaqi stressed the participants to take advantage of the opportunities in Afghanistan and explore the ‘region-centric and engagement pathways based on common regional benefits’.
The reports, quoting Muttaqi’ added that Afghanistan does not want confrontation with any country but seeks positive engagement.
“Our choices shall be respected. Instead of proposing governance models and pointing fingers at the system, it is better to engage on mutual interests,” Muttaqi said.
He calls upon attending representatives to lead the voice to remove the unilateral sanctions on Afghanistan.
As the most substantial regional contributor to Afghanistan, India, having committed $3 billion, withdrew its entire diplomatic and official staff from the nation following the Taliban’s seizure of Kabul in August 2021. However, in June 2022, India reinstated its diplomatic presence by deploying a specialized “technical team” to the mission in Kabul.