'Never said India will hold talks with Taliban in Russia': MEA responds to reports on meeting with militant group

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Friday clarified on reports of India's participation in "non-official" talks with the Taliban, and said that it had never said that Indian representatives at an Afghan peace summit will be holding talks with the militant group.

"We just said that we will be participating in the meeting on Afghanistan which will be hosted with its president Ashraf Ghani," MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said at a press conference in New Delhi.

Kumar further said that India is just part of the meeting as it supports the reconciliation process. "If any process is consistent with our policy on Afghanistan, then we will be part of it. We have already made it clear that our participation is at a non-official level," he said.

MEA's statement came after National Conference leader Omar Abdullah lashed out at the government over the reports on Friday, and asked the Narendra Modi-led government why it cannot hold talks on similar lines with "non-mainstream stakeholders" in Jammu and Kashmir to resolve the state's "eroded autonomy".

The Russian foreign ministry had said last week that the Moscow-format meeting on Afghanistan will be held 9 November and representatives of the Afghan Taliban radical movement will take part in it.

According to Russian news agency TASS, this is for the second time that Russia is attempting to bring regional powers together while discovering ways for establishing peace in war-torn Afghanistan.

The first such meeting, proposed for 4 September, was called off at the last moment after the Afghan government pulled out, describing its involvement in the Moscow meeting as "unnecessary" as the Taliban had "disrespected internationally-sanctioned principles and rejected the message of peace and direct negotiations."

According to the Russian foreign ministry, invitations to take part in the event had been sent to Afghanistan, India, Iran, China, Pakistan, the US and some other countries.

With inputs from PTI


Updated Date: Nov 09, 2018 16:25 PM

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