India on Friday made it clear that its participation at a multi-lateral conference on Afghanistan in Moscow in a ‘non-official’ capacity was in sync with its Afghanistan policy, asserting that it was not talking to the Taliban.
India sent two former diplomats to the meeting Russia hosted on Friday for peace in Afghanistan which was attended by representatives from several countries and the Taliban.
Replying to questions on why India sent representatives to the meeting, although in “non-official” capacity, when the Taliban was participating in it, foreign ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said India will be part of any peace process which is Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled.
“We will participate in any process which is consistent with the policy we have for Afghanistan… It was decided by the government that our participation will be at non-official level,” he said.
“Where did we say that there will be talks with Taliban. We did not say that,” he said, to a question on participation of Taliban in the meeting.
The conference organised by Russia was attended by representatives of Afghanistan as well as from several other countries including the US, Pakistan and China.
“In our policy on Afghanistan which we have articulated and which has been consistent for quite some time that we will be supportive of any process in Afghanistan is a party to the process,” said Mr Kumar.
Initially, the meeting was proposed for September 4 but it was called off after the Afghan government pulled out of it. India had also declined an invitation to the meeting then.
Official sources said India sent Amar Sinha and TCA Raghavan as non-official participants for Friday’s meeting. While Mr Sinha served as India’s Ambassador to Afghanistan, Mr Raghvan was a former Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan.
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. India has been actively engaged in reconstruction activities in war-ravaged Afghanistan and has already spent USD 2 billion in various projects there.