The development marks a major shift in New Delhi’s policy as this is the first time ever that India will attend a forum in which the Taliban will be present.
India has confirmed its participation in a meeting on Afghanistan hosted by Russia on Friday where five representatives of the Taliban* will also be present.
India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said the decision reflects India’s support to all efforts at peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan that will preserve unity and plurality, and bring security, stability, and prosperity to the country.
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“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. Our participation at the meeting will be at the non-official level,” the MEA said in a statement on Thursday.
Other invitees to the ‘Moscow format meet on Afghanistan,’ which will bring together deputy foreign ministers and special representatives, have all confirmed their participation.
Russia had sent invitations to the talks to Afghanistan, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, China, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, the United States and the Afghan Taliban.
“We welcome Indian as well as other respected countries’ participation in the Moscow format talks. We highly value India’s…