Is the Taliban a terrorist organization? Will India recognize it? What is India’s stand on Taliban? On Thursday, the Ministry of External Affairs gave answers to many such big questions. The ministry said that India’s immediate emphasis is on ensuring that the soil of Afghanistan is not used for terrorist activities against it. Simultaneously, the ministry said that it was too early to talk about any possibility of recognizing the Taliban.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Arindam Bagchi said in the weekly briefing, ‘Our focus is not on this. Our focus is that Afghan soil should not be used for anti-India activities and terrorism of any kind. Bagchi made the remarks when asked about India’s dialogue with the Taliban and whether it is not a terrorist organisation.
a flurry of questions from Bagchi
Bagchi faced several questions two days after the Indian envoy to Qatar and a senior Taliban leader met in Doha. He was asked whether India is ready to recognize the Taliban regime in the backdrop of the Doha meeting. Along with this, questions were also raised about India’s future plans for dialogue with the Taliban.
Bagchi said it was too early to talk about it. “We consider the Doha meeting as what it was for, it was just a meeting,” he said. I think these are still very early days.
Bagchi said that India used the Doha meeting to express its concerns about the possible use of Afghan territory for anti-India activities and to bring back the rest of the Indians from Afghanistan. We got positive response.
Will there be more meetings with the Taliban?
The Ministry of External Affairs said on Tuesday that Indian envoy to Qatar Deepak Mittal met the head of the Taliban’s political office, Sher Mohammad Abbas Stankzai, in Doha at the request of the group.
When asked whether India will hold more meetings with Taliban? Bagchi said that he does not want to speculate and has no new information (update) to share in that regard.
Asked about a possible blueprint for dialogue with the Taliban, the spokesman said, “It is not a question of yes or no.” We don’t do anything without thinking.’ “Our immediate primary concern is that the soil of Afghanistan should not be used for anti-India activities and terrorism against India,” he said. Our focus is on this. Let’s see what happens next.
Asked about the news of an inclusive government formation in Kabul and whether India has been invited to form the new government, Bagchi said, “I don’t have any updates on either of the issues… my I don’t have any details about the nature of the government to be formed in Afghanistan that I can share with you.
Photos of the meeting not released
Concerns are growing in India over the possibility of an increase in the activities of various terror groups, including Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed, from Taliban-controlled Afghanistan. Asked about the Taliban not commenting on the Doha meeting, Bagchi said it was up to that organisation.
Asked why there was no picture of the meeting or whether the Taliban did not want it, he said, “It was just a meeting.” It was not really an event of the kind where photographs are taken. I don’t think there is any idea behind it…’
Asked why the Taliban requested the Doha meeting, Bagchi said he thinks the group wants to reach out to all countries that have interest and relevance in Afghanistan. On bringing back the remaining Indians from Afghanistan, he said India would be able to reconsider the matter once the Kabul airport operations resume.
priority on evacuation of citizens
“We are prioritizing the evacuation of our citizens as well as some Afghan nationals,” he said. Kabul airport is not operational yet. I think we will be able to revisit this issue once the Kabul airport resumes operations.’
Asked about the number of e-visas issued to Afghan nationals since August 16, Bagchi said the figure is with the Ministry of Home Affairs as it deals with the matter. Asked whether India is working on a refugee policy for Afghan nationals, he said the matter comes under the Home Ministry. He said that India has always wanted peace and security in Afghanistan.
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