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India invites Pakistan, China, Russia to NSA meeting on Afghanistan


Bureau Report + India Today

NEW DELHI/ DHAKA/ ISLAMABAD: India has proposed to host an in-person meet of the National Security Advisors (NSA) on Afghanistan in Delhi in November. Key stakeholders in the region, including Russia, China, and Pakistan, have been invited to the meet.

India has proposed two dates—November 10 and 11—for the meeting in the national capital.

The invitation has been extended to Pakistan’s NSA Moeed Yusuf at a time when there are increased tensions at the border of the two countries. But sources emphasize that all stakeholders have to be engaged to defuse the impending humanitarian and security crises in Afghanistan following the Taliban’s takeover of the nation.

Meanwhile, India will participate in the Moscow Format meeting on Afghanistan on October 20, the Ministry of External Affairs said on Thursday.

While India had its first formal contact with the Taliban in Doha on August 31, the Moscow Format is likely to be the first formal contact between New Delhi and the Taliban government after an interim Cabinet was announced by them.

On any humanitarian assistance India is extending or has extended to Afghanistan, Ministry of External Affairs’ spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said that India’s policy towards Afghanistan is guided by its friendship with the Afghan people.

Earlier this month, Foreign Secretary Harsh V Shringla had said that India is willing to provide humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan and it has engaged with the representatives of the Taliban in Doha.

Speaking at the India Today Conclave 2021, the foreign secretary said, “We are willing to provide humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan and we have been a constructive partner in the development of the country, before the Taliban took over, investing over $3 billion.”

Earlier, in view of rising incidents of hate crimes against the Muslims in India and the Narendra Modi government’s biased policies towards minorities, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina warned New Delhi that these incidents could affect the Hindu community in her country.

The statement from Sheikh Hasina came amid reports of growing wariness in Bangladesh over contentious measures by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government such as the revocation of Article 370 and passage of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.

In a virtual interaction with members of the Hindu community to mark Durga Puja, Sheikh Hasina vowed to hunt down those who vandalized some Hindu temples during Durga Puja celebrations.

Three people were killed and several others injured during clashes between Muslims and the police at Hajiganj sub-district in Chandpur, bordering Cumilla, on Wednesday, while a fourth person succumbed to his wounds later.

Hasina warned, “Nobody will be spared. It doesn’t matter which religion they belong to. They will be hunted down and punished.”

However, Hasina also used the occasion to urge India to remain vigilant against the escalation of any communal violence. “We expect that nothing happens there (in India), which could influence any situation in Bangladesh affecting our Hindu community here,” Hasina said.

The Telegraph quoted Hasina as saying, “You all know that those who came to power in our country after 1975 used religion to divide people… The rise of global terrorism also has had its impact on our country. Countering this is not only our responsibility, and neighboring countries like India should also remain vigilant… India did help us in the liberation war (of 1971) and we will remain ever grateful for the support…but they (India) have to be aware that such incidents should not take place there which would have an impact on Bangladesh, and the Hindus in our country face attacks.”

“Some people are religiously blind and they always want to create communal conflicts. These people belong not only to the Muslim community but belong to other religious faiths as well,” the Bangladesh PM added.

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