Afghanistan on Wednesday saw an “extraordinary degree of convergence” between India, Russia, Iran and the five Central Asian countries on the assessments of the situation in Afghanistan and the region, sources said.he Delhi Regional Security Dialogue on
India, Russia, Iran and five Central Asian countries vowed to work for ensuring that Afghanistan does not become a “safe haven for global terrorism” and called for the formation of an open and truly inclusive government in Kabul.
During the Dialogue, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and his counterparts from the seven countries “easily arrived at a complete consensus, which enabled us to issue the joint Delhi Declaration”, the sources said.
Every delegation – from Russia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan – was appreciative of the timing of the holding of the Dialogue and the opportunity to engage in frank and open discussions.
Each country got an opportunity to put across their views in a forthright manner. This is the only dialogue at the level of NSAs and there was complete unanimity on the need to continue this process and have regular consultations, the sources added.
According to the sources, “There was extraordinary degree of convergence on the assessments of the situation in Afghanistan and the principal challenges in Afghanistan and the region. These included the security situation, heightened risk of terrorism and the impending humanitarian crisis.”
The NSAs “noted the need to provide humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan and emphasized that the land and air routes should be made available and no one should impede the process”, in an indirect allusion to Pakistan which has been impeding India’s efforts to provide humanitarian aid to Afghanistan. India has requested Pakistan for access to Afghanistan to send foodgrains and other aid in view of the looming humanitarian crisis there, but Islamabad has refused to allow it, sources said earlier.
The NSAs also appreciated the timely and efficient organization of this Dialogue by India and reiterated the need to continue regular consultations among regional countries in this format.
“They also stressed that no one should boycott the process due to bilateral agendas,” in an indirect reference to Pakistan and China, both of which declined to attend. While Islamabad conveyed its refusal via the media, Beijing said it could not attend due to “scheduling issues”.
However, Beijing is sending its special representative to Islamabad to attend the November 11 Troika Plus meeting on Afghanistan, being convened by Pakistan.
The NSAs later had a very substantive exchange during their call on Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
PM Modi shared India’s perspective on Afghanistan. The NSAs conveyed greetings from their leaders and also appreciated India’s initiative of hosting the Dialogue.
Later in the day, NSA Doval held bilateral meetings with his counterparts from Russia (Nikolai Patrushev), Kazakhstan (Karim Massimov) and Iran (Rear Admiral Ali Shamkhani).
“These were substantive meetings and reflected the personal chemistry of NSA Doval with his counterparts. There were detailed discussions on Afghanistan as well as on bilateral relations,” the sources added.
Some of the focus issues discussed with Russia were future high-level exchanges, defence cooperation and deepening interaction between the National Security Councils.
With Kazakhstan, besides Afghanistan, there were discussions on enhancing connectivity and trading routes between the two countries, and practical steps to be taken in this direction.
During the meeting with Iran, bilateral trade and the current state of relations were discussed, besides Afghanistan. Iran having hosted the previous two meetings of this format, discussions on how to carry forward this process also took place, the sources added.