Afghanistan on table: Russian NSA in Delhi for high-level talks

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General Nikolay Patrushev is also expected to call on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, reports Asian Lite News

India and Russia are set to discuss the Afghan crisis following the takeover of the war-torn nation by Taliban forces.

India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said that the Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation, General Nikolay Patrushev, has arrived here on Tuesday on a two-day visit for a high-level India-Russia inter-governmental consultation on the invitation of India’s National Security Advisor, Ajit Doval.

The two top security officials are likely to discuss the Afghan situation.

This consultation is a follow-up to the telephonic conversation between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin on August 24, when the two leaders said the two strategic partners will work together and directed the senior officials of their respective countries to remain in touch on the developments in Afghanistan.

Patrushev is also expected to call on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, the MEA further said.

After the Modi-Putin conversation, Russia had said that the two leaders expressed the intention to enhance cooperation to counter the spread of terrorist ideology and drug threat emerging from Afghanistan.

Both leaders also agreed to set up a permanent bilateral channel for consultations on the issue.

On Monday, Russian envoy Nikolay Kudashev also reiterated that there is ample scope for cooperation between India and Russia on Afghanistan and both sides have been in regular touch with each other on the latest developments in the war-torn country.

He also said that Russia is equally concerned like India that the Afghan soil should not be a source of spreading terrorism to other countries and there is an apprehension that the terror threat may reach the Russian territory as well as Kashmir.

Earlier on August 26, the Afghan situation was discussed in detail when Deputy NSA Pankaj Saran visited Moscow to meet Russian NSA Nikolay Patrushev and Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov.

Following this, the two countries had agreed to step up coordination amid the unfolding situation in Afghanistan following troops pullout by the US and NATO.

Russia was a key player in pushing for the Afghan peace process before the Taliban captured power in Kabul on Augusta 15 this year.

On Friday, Putin had expressed hope that the Taliban will behave in a “civilised” manner in Afghanistan so that the global community can maintain diplomatic ties with Kabul. “Russia is not interested in the disintegration of Afghanistan. If this happens, then there will be no one to talk to,” Putin said.

In Kabul, the Russian Ambassador had met with the Taliban several days after the takeover and said Moscow would maintain its embassy in the country.

In the fast-changing geo-politics of the region, Russia has emerged as a key player on Afghanistan largely due to its engagements with the Taliban over the past few years. New Delhi’s engagement with Moscow is aimed at advancing its national interest since both sides share concerns on terrorism emanating from Afghan soil.

CIA chief met Doval in Delhi

Meanwhile, Doval met with US spymaster William Burns in Delhi on Tuesday. The meeting took place on a day when the Taliban announced the names of people who would run Afghanistan, including the leader of a US-designated terror group being named as Prime Minister.

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