Omar Abdullah slams govt for 'non-official' talks with Taliban, asks why Centre cannot hold meetings to fix J&K's 'eroded autonomy'

Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah on Friday responded to reports of India's participation in "non-official" talks with the Taliban, asking why the Narendra Modi-led government cannot have similar talks to resolve the state's "eroded autonomy".

Responding to a tweet by journalist Suhasini Haider, Abdullah wrote:

Haider agreed with Abdullah's point, and also raised concerns about Afghanistan's role in the meeting. She tweeted: "Hard to see how 12-nation talks in Moscow at the invitation of the Russian government represents an "Afghan-led Afghan-owned" process, unless direct talks follow. Recurring evidence of government's lack of transparency on foreign policy."

Abdullah and Haider's comments come after India on Thursday announced that it will participate in the meeting, being hosted by Russia in Moscow, where representatives of the Taliban will be present. The Moscow-format meeting on Afghanistan will be held on Friday.

According to the Russian foreign ministry, 12 countries were invited to participate in the talks, including Afghanistan, India, Iran, China, Pakistan, and the US. The meeting comes after Modi and Russian president Vladimir Putin held talks a host of global issues.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Thursday had said about the meeting: "India supports all efforts at peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan that will preserve unity and plurality, and bring security, stability and prosperity to the country. India's consistent policy has been that such efforts should be Afghan-led, Afghan-owned, and Afghan-controlled and with the participation of the Government of Afghanistan."

According to Russian news agency TASS, this is the second time that Russia has attempted to bring regional powers together to help to establish peace in war-torn Afghanistan. The first such meeting, which was proposed for 4 September, was called off at the last moment after the Afghan government backed out.

Afghanistan had described 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."

Updated Date: Nov 09, 2018 12:09:45 IST