India was among 10-odd countries which attended a conclave in Kabul on Monday organised by the Taliban with a broader aim for regional cooperation, according to the Afghan media. India has not yet recognised the Taliban setup and has been pitching for the formation of a truly inclusive government in Kabul. There was no official word on the meeting from the Ministry of External Affairs.
The participating countries included India, Kazakhstan, Turkey, Russia, China, Iran, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Indonesia and Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan’s Khaama Press news agency reported. Russia was represented at the conclave by its special representative for Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov.
The Regional Cooperation Initiative meeting was addressed by the Taliban regime’s acting foreign minister Amir Khan Muttaqi. A statement from the Taliban foreign ministry said he emphasised that these nations should hold regional dialogues to increase and continue the positive interaction with Afghanistan.
India’s participation at the meeting came days after the Indian embassy in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) invited the charge d’affaires of the Afghan mission in the Gulf nation, Badruddin Haqqani, to the Republic Day celebrations in Abu Dhabi.
A government source had said the invite was sent to all accredited missions based in that country and was part of standard diplomatic procedure.
In his remarks, Amir Khan Muttaqi urged the participants to take advantage of emerging opportunities in Afghanistan for the development of the region and “coordinate the management of potential threats”.
He said regional cooperation could be focused on exploring “region-centric” pathways based on common benefits. Muttaqi said the regional cooperation should lead to calls for removal of “unilateral sanctions” on Afghanistan.
Kabul, he said, stands ready to engage and cooperate with the regional countries by working together based on mutual interest and mutual respect.
In June 2022, India re-established its diplomatic presence in Kabul by deploying a “technical team” in its embassy in the Afghan capital. India had withdrawn its officials from the embassy after the Taliban seized power following concerns over their security.