India’s Diplomatic Maneuver: Participation in Regional Conference Signals Shift in Afghanistan Strategy
In a notable diplomatic move, India participated in a regional conference hosted by the Taliban in Kabul, marking a significant step toward addressing mutual regional interests in Afghanistan. Representatives and ambassadors from 11 neighboring and regional countries, including China, Russia, Iran, Pakistan, and others, gathered for this historic meeting.
India’s active involvement was confirmed by sources in the Ministry of External Affairs, with the head of India’s technical mission in Kabul representing the nation. In a social media post, Afghanistan’s acting deputy spokesman highlighted India’s commitment, stating that New Delhi actively plays a role in international and regional initiatives for Afghanistan, supporting its stability and development.
The timing of this conference is strategic, preceding a UN-organized conference in Doha, Qatar, scheduled for 18-19 February. Raj Kumar Sharma, a senior research fellow at a Delhi-based think tank, suggests that the Taliban seeks regional support, especially from Russia and China, to alleviate sanctions, making this meeting a crucial precursor to the upcoming UN gathering.
Addressing the Kabul meeting, Afghanistan’s acting foreign minister emphasized the need for building a positive narrative for engagement, enhancing regional connectivity for economic development, and advocating for the removal of Western sanctions on the Taliban regime. As regional dynamics evolve, India’s participation signifies a nuanced approach to navigate Afghanistan’s complex geopolitical landscape.