India takes part in Moscow talks on forming ‘inclusive government’ in Afghanistan

India joined the latest meeting of the ‘Moscow format consultations on Afghanistan’ that was held on Wednesday in the Russian capital.

The Moscow format — one of the several dialogue platforms on Afghanistan — which began before the Taliban takeover of Kabul, consists of Russia, China, Pakistan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and India. Joint Secretary in-charge of Pakistan-Afghanistan-Iran division of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), J.P. Singh, represented India at the talks.

“During the meeting, the participants discussed issues related to Afghanistan, including the current humanitarian situation and the ongoing efforts of various stakeholders to provide assistance, intra-Afghan talks, formation of an inclusive and representative government, efforts to counter threats of terrorism and ensuring regional security,” the MEA said in a statement.

The meeting was announced earlier this month by Zamir Kabulov, Special Representative of the President of the Russia for Afghanistan. Mr. Kabulov had outlined that the conference would try to discuss some of the negative trends started by the Taliban in the last one year.

“Without imposing our own vision of the religious and cultural arrangement of public life on the Kabul authorities, we [will] frankly draw attention to the counter-productiveness of the restrictions imposed on the participation of women in the labour force and girls in the process of obtaining education,” Mr. Kabulov had said. A veteran Afghanistan-handler from Moscow, Mr. Kabulov has been championing a “trans-regional approach” to stabilise Afghanistan.

Mr. Singh led a humanitarian delegation to Kabul in June when he met leading Taliban figures and handed over large consignments of medicines and medical equipment to the Afghan people. Preliminary reports suggest that Wednesday’s talks were held without the participation of any Taliban representative. Taliban spokespersons are yet to explain the reason behind this absence.

The humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan and efforts to provide assistance were discussed