New Delhi: India on Friday categorically rejected reports about External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar’s meeting with Taliban leaders, describing them as “false and mischievous”.
“We have seen some media reports based on a tweet by some journalists about meeting with Taliban by the External Affairs Minister,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said at a media briefing.
“Let me categorically deny claims that the External Affairs Minister met any Taliban leader. Such stories are false and mischievous,” he said while replying to a question.
Bagchi said India supports all peace initiatives and has been engaged with various stakeholders.
There has been a renewed push towards the Afghan peace process as the US looked to complete the withdrawal of its forces from Afghanistan by September 11, ending nearly two-decade of its military presence in the war-ravaged country.
In the midst of fast-paced developments relating to the Afghan peace process, a senior Qatari diplomat said at a webinar organised by the Arab Center in Washington DC recently that he believed the Indian side was engaging with the Taliban as the group could be a key component in the future of Afghanistan.
India has been a major stakeholder in the peace and stability of Afghanistan.
It has already invested nearly USD 3 billion in aid and reconstruction activities in the country.
India has been supporting a national peace and reconciliation process which is Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled.
In March, Afghan foreign minister Mohammad Haneef Atmar visited India during which Jaishankar conveyed to him India’s long-term commitment towards a peaceful, sovereign and stable Afghanistan.