The Ministry of External Affairs said on Thursday that India has been invited to the Moscow draft meeting on Afghanistan on October 20 and will participate in the deliberations.
This will be the first communication in the Moscow format since the Taliban annexed Afghanistan in August.
While India’s first formal contact with the Taliban took place on August 31 in Doha, the Moscow format is likely to be the first formal contact between New Delhi and the Taliban government, when the interim cabinet was announced by them.
When asked about the meeting, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said, “We have received an invitation for the Moscow draft meeting on Afghanistan on October 20. We will attend it.”
“I don’t have a final confirmation on who will participate, but there is a possibility that we will have (participation) at the joint secretary level,” he said.
Russia has been holding talks in ‘Moscow format’ to resolve Afghan issues since 2017. Several rounds of talks have taken place in Moscow since 2017.
On any humanitarian aid India is giving or increasing to Afghanistan, Bagchi said India’s policy towards Afghanistan is guided by its friendship with the Afghan people.
He said that India has in the past provided assistance for infrastructure as well as humanitarian purposes.
“Coming specifically to humanitarian aid, you would recall that the UN Secretary-General had called a meeting on the subject on 13 September which was attended by External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar. His intervention… on the issue of humanitarian aid. Our approach was set. Very clearly,” he said.
“This includes India’s desire to stand with the Afghan people, the need to create the best possible enabling environment for the international community, free, unrestricted and direct access to humanitarian aid providers and non-discriminatory delivery,” Bagchi said.
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