India confirms Afghanistan conference, slams Pakistan for ‘destructive’ role

Delhi Regional Security Dialogue on Afghanistan will be hosted by India on 10th November. The NSA level meeting will be chaired by NSA Ajit Doval. According to sources there has been an overwhelming response to India’s invitation. Central Asian countries as well as Russia and Iran have confirmed their participation. This is the first time all Central Asian countries, not just Afghanistan’s immediate land neighbours, are participating in this format.

The enthusiastic response is recognition of the importance attached to India’s role to promote peace and security in Afghanistan. Two earlier meetings in this format have been held in Iran in September 2018 and December 2019. The third meeting in India could not be held earlier due to the pandemic. Sources said invitations have been extended to China and Pakistan too, and formal responses are awaited. However, Pakistan has indicated through the media that it will not attend.

Pakistan’s decision is unfortunate, but not surprising and it reflects its mindset of viewing Afghanistan as its protectorate said Sources. Pakistan has not attended the previous meetings of this format too. The high-level participation in next week’s meeting hosted by India reflects the widespread and growing concern of regional countries about the situation in Afghanistan and their desire to consult and coordinate with each other. India has an important role to play in this process.

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