Is India Indicating a Departure from its Stance on Taliban as World Powers Intensify Afghan Peace Negotiations?

During the past two weeks, the rapidly changing developments in the Afghanistan peace process piqued the curiosity of geopolitics watchers in India, with many questioning the role of New Delhi in the ongoing negotiations. The question of whether Russia had intentionally side-lined India from the latest talks triggered a flurry of speculation.

The world powers appear to be making a major diplomatic push to reach an agreement with the Taliban—which have direct control over 19 percent of the districts in Afghanistan— before the final decision on the withdrawal of American troops.

Over the last weeks, two crucial meetings with Taliban have been announced— first by Russia and second by the US, with both seeking to break the deadlock over the Afghanistan peace process. This has pushed New Delhi to finally face the challenge of taking an early decision on whether or not it should directly engage with the Taliban.

Earlier this month, the US put forth a draft Afghanistan Peace Agreement before the Taliban and the Afghanistan government, proposing a transitional government that would include the Taliban. This proposal has found many supporters in the Indian administration and experts including members of the governing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Till now, India has chosen to watch from afar the hectic manoeuvres by world powers holding talks with the Taliban in an effort to hammer out the peace deal in the trouble-ridden country. Moving ahead with its conventional…

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