India on Thursday said that any peace process should have “full consent” of the Afghan government and the Afghan people, days after US President Donald Trump called off negotiations with the Taliban in which the two sides “agreed in principle” on a deal which would allow a gradual withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan.
Addressing a weekly briefing, Raveesh Kumar, a spokesman for India’s Ministry of External Affairs, said India is closely following the developments including the talks between Taliban and the US.
“We believe that all sections of the Afghan society including the legitimately elected government should be part of this process,” he said.
The US chief negotiator Zalmay Khalilzad and key members of the Taliban held nine rounds of talks in Qatar and the UAE in almost a year. The two sides were about to sign a peace deal when the US president called off the negotiations, citing Taliban’s deadly attack in Kabul which left 13 people, including a US soldier, dead and many others wounded.
This decision by Mr. Trump, according to analysts, opened the way for the Afghan presidential election scheduled for September 28.
Mr. Kumar said India has supported the Afghan election.
“Our point of view is that any process should respect the constitutional legacy and political mandate, should not lead to any ungoverned spaces were terrorist and their proxies can relocate and should have the full consent of Afghan people and the government,” he said.
“We are reasonably confident that any decision on the peace process which is being taken by the international community, including by the US, will accommodate our concerns in this regard,” he said.
Mr. Kumar said that India has shared the concerns at different intervals including during the visit of special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad to India several times in the past.
“No change in India’s policy [on] Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan driven process. We feel the process should include all sections of the society including the Afghan government,” he said.