India-Central Asia Dialogue: Indian, Afghan foreign ministers meet in Uzbekistan

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj (L), Afghan foreign minister Salahuddin Rabbani (R) in Uzbekistan. Image via Afghan foreign ministry. Photograph:( Others )

WION New Delhi, Delhi, India Jan 13, 2019, 07.30 PM (IST) Sidhant Sibal

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Afghanistan's foreign minister Salahuddin Rabbani met in Samarkand, Uzbekistan on Sunday on the sidelines of first India-Central Asia Dialogue.

This is the first meeting between both the ministers this year. Afghanistan was also invited to the dialogue. According to a release by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan, "Swaraj reaffirmed her country’s commitment toward Afghanistan." 

During the meet "both sides exchanged views on the dynamics of the peace talks, the Afghan-leadership and ownership element of the peace process and regional cooperation."

The meeting comes in the backdrop of the Afghan National Security Advisory (NSA) Hamdullah Mohib and US Special Representative of Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad's New Delhi visit.

Mohib met his Indian counterpart NSA Ajit Doval and appreciated the assistance provided by India for the economic development and the reconstruction of Afghanistan.

Zalmay, during his maiden visit to India, met Swaraj and foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale. During the meetings, the Indian side briefed Zalmay about Pakistan's destabilizing role and "made it very clear that peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan should be Afghan-owned, Afghan-led and Afghan-controlled," MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar noted.

A number of developments have taken place with respect to the Afghan peace process. US media suggest that Washington is keen to withdraw a certain number of its troops from the country. Meanwhile, Afghanistan's neighbours, along with Moscow and Washington but barring India, have also been engaging with the Taliban. India has a policy of not engaging with the Taliban but did participate at a non-official level at Moscow talks on Afghanistan last year in which the group was also present.   

Story highlights

During the meeting, 'both the sides exchanged views on the dynamics of the peace talks, the Afghan-leadership and ownership element of the peace process and regional cooperation.'