The Delhi Regional Security Dialogue on Afghanistan which was held yesterday and attended by top security officials of Russia, Iran, and five Central Asian countries exceeded India’s expectations. Official sources said the NSAs easily arrived at a complete consensus, which enabled to issue of the joint Delhi Declaration. It said every delegation was appreciative of the timing of the event and the opportunity to engage in frank and open discussions. Every country got an opportunity to put across their views in a forthright manner. The sources said, this is the only dialogue at the level of NSAs and there was complete unanimity on the need to continue this process and have regular consultations. It said, there was an extraordinary degree of convergence on the assessments of the situation in Afghanistan and the principal challenges in that country and the region. These included the security situation, heightened risk of terrorism, and the impending humanitarian crisis. The NSA’s noted the need to provide humanitarian assistance and emphasized that the land and air routes should be made available and no one should impede the process. The NSA’s appreciated the timely and efficient organization of this Dialogue by India and reiterated the need to continue regular consultations among regional countries in this format. They also stressed that no one should boycott the process due to bilateral agendas.
Yesterday, NSA Ajit Kumar Doval also had bilateral meetings with his counterparts from Russia, Kazakhstan, and Iran. Sources said, these were substantive meetings and reflected the personal chemistry of NSA with his counterparts. There were detailed discussions on Afghanistan as well as on bilateral relations. Some of the focus issues discussed with Russia were defense cooperation and future exchanges between the NSCs. With Kazakhstan, besides Afghanistan, there were discussions on enhancing connectivity and trading routes between the two countries, and practical steps to be taken in this direction. During the meeting with Iran, bilateral trade and the current state of relations were discussed, besides Afghanistan. Iran having hosted the previous two meetings of this format, discussions on how to carry forward this process also took place.