DUSHANBE, Tajikistan (CU)_India’s External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar called for “double peace”, both inside Afghanistan and within the region, during the Heart of Asia conference in Tajikistan on Tuesday (30 March).
Participating in the conference, along with ministers from Afghanistan, China, Russia, Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia and several other countries, Jaishankar made a rare direct reference to the Taliban, saying that New Delhi supports the Intra-Afghan Negotiations.
“India has been supportive of all the efforts being made to accelerate the dialogue between the Afghan government and the Taliban, including intra-Afghan negotiations,” he said.
“If the peace process is to be successful, then it is necessary to ensure that the negotiating parties continue to engage in good faith, with a serious commitment towards reaching a political solution.”
India has not previously referred directly to the Taliban and New Delhi has not had any public engagement with the militant group. Nevertheless, the Foreign Minister noted that India views the continued violence against civilians in Afghanistan with “grave concern”, and called on the members of the group to work towards a permanent ceasefire.
Amid speculation over an ongoing peace process between India and Pakistan, Jaishankar and his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi departed from previous boycotts, and were present for each other’s speeches during the conference. However, the two ministers did not make any public contact at the summit in Dushanbe.
Meanwhile, Afghani President Ashraf Ghani, who held separate talks with both Jaishankar and Qureshi, thanked the two neighbouring countries for their support towards the Afghan peace process.
Diplomatic sources have revealed that India’s External Minister is expected to visit Kabul soon, as Afghani Foreign Minister Mohammad Hanif Atmar extended an invitation to Jaishankar during his recent visit to New Delhi.