Sources said that during his visit which lasted a few hours only, he called on External Affairs Minister S Jaishakar in the presence of National security Advisor Ajit Doval and Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla. During the meeting, Khalilzad briefed the Indian side about the US assessment of the ongoing Intra Afghan Negotiation and shared the US perspective on the Afghan peace. The two sides discussed future steps and possible cooperation between India and the US in furthering the Afghan peace process.
EAM Jaishankar had participated in the inaugural session of the intra-Afghan negotiations held in Doha on 12 September via video conferencing. During his address, EAM had conveyed that India’s policy on Afghanistan had been consistent. India believes any peace process must be Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled, has to respect the national sovereignty and territorial integrity of Afghanistan and preserve the progress made in the establishment of a democratic Islamic Republic in Afghanistan. He also underlined that the interests of minorities, women, and vulnerable sections of society must be preserved and the issue of violence across the country and its neighbourhood has to be effectively addressed.
The US interlocutor’s Delhi visit precedes his meeting with senior leaders and officials of the Pakistan government in Islamabad on Monday.
During his interaction in Delhi Khalilzad appreciated India’s participation in the Intra-Afghan Negotiations. The two sides also deliberated upon how to promote regional and international cooperation with regard to Afghanistan. India has always maintained that it will continue its support for strengthening peace, security, unity, democratic and inclusive polity, and protection of rights of all sections of the Afghan society. India enjoys goodwill among all factions of Afghanistan and has been actively engaged in the development and humanitarian work in the strife-torn nation. India is one of the largest development partners of Afghanistan, with a commitment of more than US $ 3 billion, and over 400 projects have been completed in all the 34 provinces of Afghanistan with Indian assistance.
Today’s discussions of Khalilzad with senior Indian leaders are a reflection of the India-US strategic partnership which provides for close consultations between the two countries on bilateral, regional, and international issues of mutual interest.
The formal negotiations between the Afghan Government and the Taliban have begun on Monday. The talks are happening to negotiate a power-sharing arrangement between the warring factions to eventfully put an end to decades of war. Apart from the US, Afghanistan, the Taliban, and Qatar which is hosting the talks, the discussions over the weekend were also attended by representatives from India, Pakistan, Russia, Germany, Indonesia, Uzbekistan, Norway, and the United Nations.
Report by Abhishek Jha