On 10th November 2021, India hosted the “Regional Security Dialogue” with the participation of countries including Russia, Iran, and five central Asian countries for a security dialogue on Afghanistan. The event was held in New Delhi and was chaired by NSA Ajit Doval. The dialogue aimed to explore and come up with a common approach for dealing with the changed realities in Afghanistan. India was supposed to host such dialogue last year as well but it got postponed due to the pandemic. The Eurasian allies explored firming up a common approach for practical cooperation in confronting increasing threats of terrorism, radicalization and drug trafficking following the Taliban’s takeover of Kabul.
India’s National Security Adviser Ajit Doval had invited security chiefs from Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan for the talks. In a statement published by India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) that the meeting will address “the relevant security challenges and support the people of Afghanistan in promoting peace, security and stability”. Further, the statement stated, “India has traditionally enjoyed close and friendly ties with the people of Afghanistan and has called for a unified international response to address the security and humanitarian challenges facing Afghanistan. The forthcoming meeting is a step in that direction.”
But two of the most important regional players, China and Pakistan, were missed from the table after representatives of both nations turned down the invite. Beijing cited scheduling issues while Pakistan blamed India’s ‘negative attitude’ and decided to skip the meet. Pakistan’s NSA Yousuf Moeen has published a report in Islamabad stating that “Pakistan has identified India as a hurdle to regional efforts to establish peace and security. Troublemakers can’t try to be pacemakers.” MEA has responded to the statement, stating that Pakistan’s refusal to attend the meeting was “unfortunate, but not surprising” and “reflects its mindset of viewing Afghanistan as its protectorate”.
Before the Taliban took over Kabul India was the largest provider of development aid to Afghanistan. India has also provided Afghan security forces with operational training and military equipment. India has been trying to bring stability to the region and counter all the terrorist-related activities, especially in Jammu and Kashmir. This event was an effort to put all the regional powers on one single platform to discuss the future framework and build a stronger regional consensus to deal with issues related to Afghanistan. India has already held its first talks with Taliban representatives in Qatar on August 31, 2021, and the events like above show India’s commitment to bringing peace, stability, growth and development to the region.