Ahead of the NSAs meeting on Afghanistan, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval held bilateral meetings with his Tajik and Uzbek counterparts on Tuesday, reports The Indian Express.
Sources said Doval and Tajikistan’s NSA Nasrullo Rahmatjon Mahmudzoda exchanged “views on Afghanistan, with significant convergence of assessments”. “Concerns were expressed on the sharp increase in terrorist threats from Afghanistan in the recent past,” said sources. The Tajik NSA highlighted the “gravity of the situation in Afghanistan”.
Sources said “discussions took place on the looming humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan”. Already, food shortages are being reported from various parts of the country.
On the bilateral front, discussions were held on the deepening cooperation in areas like “defence, border management and border infrastructure development”, sources said.
Sources said the two NSAs “felt that the legitimacy of any Afghan government within Afghanistan was important before the issue of its international recognition”. This has been flagged by India earlier as well.
Sources said that both sides “emphasised the need for Afghanistan’s neighbours to ensure unhindered access of humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan”, and agreed that “neighbouring states must play a constructive role in Afghanistan”. This is again a reference to Islamabad, as it has been sitting on India’s request to send foodgrain to Afghanistan through Pakistan.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar too met Makhmudov.
Russia, Iran, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan are participating in the meeting to be held at the level of national security advisors, and chaired by NSA Doval, on Wednesday. Doval will also meet NSAs of Russia and Iran for bilateral meetings on Wednesday.
Sources said the meeting of NSAs will look at evolving a “regional security architecture” to deal with the challenges arising out of the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, mainly terrorism within and across its border, radicalisation and extremism, cross-border movement, drug production and trafficking, and potential use of weapons and equipment left behind by the US and its allies.
The Delhi meeting will be attended by Rear Admiral Ali Shamkhani (Iran), Nikolai P Patrushev (Russia), Karim Massimov (Kazakhstan), Marat Mukanovich Imankulov (Kyrgyzstan), Nasrullo Rahmatjon Mahmudzoda (Tajikistan), Charymyrat Kakalyyevvich Amavov (Turkmenistan) and Victor Makhmudov (Uzbekistan).
The top security officials are expected to jointly call on Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday. Some of the visiting delegates will also travel to Amritsar and Agra for sightseeing.
According to sources, the country’s top security establishment, the National Security Council Secretariat, is taking the lead in organising the conference. The meeting is a “security track”, which is different from the “diplomatic track”, and the “czars of the security establishments” in these countries will discuss “practical cooperation”, they said.