Ashraf Ghani's special envoy reaches Delhi as India increases engagement with other forces on Afghan peace process

New Delhi, Delhi, IndiaWritten By: Sidhant SibalUpdated: May 16, 2019, 02:52 PM IST

File photo of Afghanistan president Ashraf Ghani. Photograph:(Getty)

Story highlights

His presence in Delhi is a major development in the backdrop of increased engagement by India with regional countries and world powers on the Afghan peace process.

Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani's Special Representative for Regional Affairs for Consensus on Peace, Mohammad Umer Daudzai, has arrived in New Delhi and will hold a meeting with External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj.

Daudzai is also the CEO of the High Peace Council, established to negotiate peace with the Taliban.

The former interior minister was appointed the special envoy in December of 2018 and was tasked with creating a regional consensus on the Afghan peace process.

Ahead of the visit Sayed Ihsan Taheri, Director Media to the high peace council said, "Everyone knows that India is one of the fewer states truly supporting Afghan-led Peace Process."

His presence in Delhi is a major development in the backdrop of increased engagement by India with regional countries and world powers on the Afghan peace process. New Delhi backs an "Afghan-owned, Afghan-led and Afghan-controlled" peace process.

India, Russia meet on Afghanistan

On Wednesday, Joint secretary at Ministry of external affair's Pakistan Afghanistan and Iran desk, Deepak Mittal met Russia's Special Representative on Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov in Moscow for bilateral Consultations on Afghanistan.

India last year had participated at Moscow talks on Afghanistan at a  non-officially by sending two former envoys — Former Indian Ambassador to Afghanistan Amar Sinha & Former Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan TCA Raghavan. 

India, Iran on Afghanistan

On Tuesday during Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif's 2 days India visit Afghanistan was discussed during his meetings with his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj.

Iran's Chabahar port plays a crucial role in India's connectivity plans with Afghanistan. During the meet, both sides expressed satisfaction at the operationalization of the interim contract on the  Chabahar Port between India Ports Global Limited (IPGL) and Ports and Maritime Organization (PMO).

India, the US on Afghanistan

Last week US special representative on Afghanistan  Zalmay Khalilzad visited India, his 2nd visit to New Delhi this year. A release from the US embassy on the visit said both sides "agreed that Afghan gains of the last 18 years must be preserved and built upon" and "Ambassador Khalilzad will continue to consult with Indian counterparts as the peace process moves forward."

While recognizing Indian contribution to Afghanistan's development, the release stated, "Afghanistan’s political future is for Afghans to decide through an inclusive and legitimate process."

India, China on Afghanistan

Chinese Special Envoy on Afghanistan Ambassador Deng Xijun also paid a visit to India last week on Friday during which he held discussions with Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale. 

Both sides agreed to "consult closely on the evolving situation in Afghanistan" and "carry forward" the decision taken by PM Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping during informal Wuhan summit on joint cooperation in Afghanistan.

Since then both countries have jointly trained Afghan diplomats in New Delhi and Bejing.

India is the largest donor to the landlocked South Asian country in the region with development assistance exceeding $3 billion and has built several infrastructure projects in the country including the Afghan parliament and the India Afghanistan friendship dam in Herat province.