New Delhi: National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval made a strong pitch Friday for the need to ensure peace and stability in Afghanistan, and combating terrorism risks emanating from the region. The issue was being discussed during Doval’s meeting with regional counterparts in Dushanbe, Tajikistan.
There was no representation from Pakistan at the meeting — the 4th Regional Security Dialogue on Afghanistan — attended by NSAs from Tajikistan, India, Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Iran, Kyrgyzstan and China. Pakistan’s former NSA, Moeed Yusuf, had resigned in April, during the turmoil over the future of the Imran Khan government in Pakistan.
Sources in the defence and security establishment said that the meeting carried forward the discussions held during the 3rd Regional Security Dialogue on Afghanistan, held in New Delhi in November 2021.
The first two rounds took place in Tehran in 2018 and 2019. India was to host the meeting in 2020, but it got postponed due to the Covid pandemic.
“Taking forward the spirit encapsulated in the Delhi Declaration, the NSAs discussed the situation in Afghanistan and the region,” a source said.
Sources said all the NSAs highlighted the need to find constructive ways to ensure peace and stability in Afghanistan and combating risks from terrorism emanating from the region.
‘Countries should ensure Afghanistan doesn’t become terror hub’
According to sources Doval emphasised that India continues to stand with the Afghan people and pointed out that since August 2021, India had already contributed 17,000 metric tonnes of wheat (of a total commitment of 50,000 metric tonnes), 5,00,000 doses of Covaxin, 13 tonnes of life-saving medications and winter clothes, and 60 million doses of polio vaccine.
Doval also took the opportunity to meet his counterparts from Iran, Tajikistan, Russia and other partners in the Dialogue on the sidelines of the meeting, the sources said.
Sources said that the NSA stressed that all countries should come together to ensure that Afghanistan does not become a terror hub, which will have direct ramifications on the stability in the region.
The Delhi Declaration had in November last year emphasised that Afghanistan’s territory should not be used for sheltering, training, planning or financing any terrorist acts.
This has been a primary concern for India since the Taliban took over the country, besides the rights of Afghan citizens, especially women and minorities.
India has already closed down its diplomatic missions in Afghanistan, which the Taliban keenly wants to be reopened.
(Edited by Poulomi Banerjee)
(This copy has been updated to clarify that former Pakistan NSA Moeed Yusuf had resigned earlier and Pakistan currently does not have a NSA.)