India's talks with Taliban will be a political call: Sources to WION

File photo. Photograph:( Reuters )

WION New Delhi, Delhi, India Jan 30, 2019, 10.30 PM (IST) Sidhant Sibal

While India is keenly watching the developments in Afghanistan including the expected pact between the United States and Taliban, top sources have told WION that New Delhi won't change its official stance of talking to Taliban and if a call is taken "it will be political". 

Sources also dismissed that during US Special Representative on Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad, India held any conversation to dilute its policy on talks with Taliban.

India's official policy on Afghanistan's peace process has been that it should be Afghan-led, Afghan-owned, and Afghan-controlled and with the participation of the government of Afghanistan. 

Sources said, barring one country no one would like Taliban to be back at the helm of affairs in Kabul and it seems highly unlikely that there will be a complete withdrawal of US forces from the landlocked South Asian country.

This comes even as Russia is expected to host another round of talks under its Moscow format talks on Afghanistan involving the Taliban for which New Delhi is expected to get an "invitation very soon".

India last year participated on "unofficial level" at Moscow format talks by sending its former ambassador to Afghanistan Amar Sinha and former Indian high commissioner to Pakistan TCA Raghavan. A few days ago the Army chief General Bipin Rawat had backed talks with Taliban but without any preconditions.

Countries in the region are already engaging with the group. Iran has publically acknowledged its talks with the Taliban and has even offered its offices if New Delhi wants to engage with the grouping. 
The US has been engaging with the Taliban and in its last meeting in Doha it was that a pact may be in the offing that can help American troops leave Afghanistan after 17 years. 

On Monday, Russia's Special Representative on Afghanistan, Ambassador Zamir Kabulov was in Pakistan and met the Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and according to the Pakistani release Islamabad, "Is facilitating the ongoing talks between the US and the Taliban as a shared responsibility and in good faith" and "hoped that the talks will result in an intra-Afghan dialogue leading to lasting peace in the country."

Story highlights

While India is keenly watching the developments in Afghanistan including the expected pact between the United States and Taliban, top sources have told WION that New Delhi won't change its official stance of talking to Taliban and if a call is taken 'it will be political'.