Topic: General Studies 2:
- India and its neighbourhood relations
- Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests
Intra-Afghan talks bringing the Taliban face-to-face with representatives of the Afghanistan government and Afghan civil society has finally started in Doha.
The talks are a key outcome of the U.S. Taliban and U.S. Afghanistan agreements.
The initiation of intra-Afghan talks was a key element in the U.S.-Taliban peace deal signed in February between the U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, and the Taliban deputy leader.
Important tasks at hand:
- The first task for the negotiators is to declare a permanent ceasefire, and stop violence in Afghanistan that has claimed another 1,300 civilian lives in the first half of 2020.
- To decide the course of how Afghanistan’s future will be shaped.
- To decide whether they can retain the constitution and political processes while bringing the insurgents into the mainstream.
- Other key elements- An end to violence by declaring a ceasefire and the Taliban cutting ties with terrorist organisations such as al Qaeda, also needs to be discussed.
Evolving Indian stand:
India’s stand has always been that the peace process must be “Afghan led, Afghan owned and Afghan controlled”.
Indian policy has evolved from its earlier hands-off approach to the Taliban.
External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar attended the inaugural ceremony in Doha via videoconferencing. It was the first ever address by an Indian official at a gathering that includes the Taliban (that India still maintains is a terror group).
India has made it clear that India hopes that peace in Afghanistan should not come at the cost of gains made by Afghanistan in the postTaliban era, including democracy, institutions of governance, and the rights of minorities and women.
India’s vision of a sovereign, united, stable, plural and democratic Afghanistan is one that is shared by a large constituency in Afghanistan.
A more active engagement will enable India to work with like-minded forces in the region to ensure that the vacuum created by the U.S. withdrawal does not lead to an undo the gains during the last two decades.
Connecting the dots:
- India’s stand of “Afghan led, Afghan owned and Afghan controlled” peace process is evolving. Comment.