New Delhi: India has established its first formal contact with the Taliban on Tuesday. Indian ambassador to Qatar Deepak Mittal met the head of Taliban’s political office, Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanekzai in Doha at the Indian mission.
India and the Taliban held discussions on the safety of Indians in Afghanistan, especially minorities. Indian envoy Mittal also urged the Taliban that Afghan soil should not be used for terror acts against India.
However, informed sources told ANI that establishing contact with the Taliban does not amount to recognising the outfit.
India’s contact with the Taliban evoked reactions from various political parties, posing questions to New Delhi on talking to the Taliban.
India had never recognised the Taliban. Therefore, formal talks in Doha is seen as a departure from Indian policy.
Former Union Minister of State, External Affairs in Vajpayee government, Omar Abdullah said, “Either Taliban is a terror organisation or not, please clarify to us how you see them. If they are a terror group why are you talking to them? If not then will you (Centre) move to United Nations and have it delisted as a terror organisation? Make up your mind.”
Meanwhile, India has been following the policy of wait and watch, it’s looking forward to seeing government formation in Afghanistan. Taliban says it will form an inclusive government soon.
Sources say any call on recognising the Taliban can only be taken once the government is formed. It is learnt that India is observing how the Taliban fulfils its commitment and how it conducts itself.
Taliban leadership during yesterday’s meet said that it will address the issues raised by the Indian side. Earlier also Taliban said India is an important country and they want good economic relations with India.
Interestingly, it is the Taliban who requested the Indian mission for yesterday’s meet in Doha.
Taliban had also urged countries to reopen their missions; however, Indian missions and consulates remain shut in Afghanistan.
Haqqanis presence in the Taliban’s power structure, dynamics is making India nervous as they share deep linkages with Pakistan’s spy agency ISI, and terror outfits like Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed.