Delhi Regional Security Dialogue on Afghanistan

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    • Recently, the Delhi Regional Security Dialogue on Afghanistan was held. The meeting was composed of National Security Advisors’ (NSA) of regional countries and chaired by the Indian NSA.

    Key Points

    • First meeting of the security heads
      • This is the first meeting of the security heads of the participating countries that India has hosted since the Taliban took power in August after dislodging the government of President Ashraf Ghani.
        • Two earlier meetings in this format have been held in Iran in September 2018 and December 2019.
    • Participants
      • Invitations were sent to Afghanistan’s neighbours such as Pakistan, Iran, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan, and other key players including Russia, and China.
      • Pakistan and China too were invited to participate in the consultation but both stayed away.
    • National Security Council Secretariat
      • India’s top security establishment, the National Security Council Secretariat, has taken the lead in organising the in-person meeting.
    • Delhi Declaration
      • A joint statement titled the ‘Delhi Declaration’ issued after the meeting called for “collective cooperation” against terrorism and drug trafficking in the region and “expressed concern over the deteriorating socio-economic and humanitarian situation in Afghanistan.
      • These have important implications not only for the people of Afghanistan but also for its neighbours and the region.
      • They reiterated strong support for a peaceful, secure and stable Afghanistan while emphasising the respect for sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity and non-interference in its internal affairs.
    • No representation from Afghan government or the Taliban
      • The meeting, however, did not have any representation from the erstwhile Afghan government or the Taliban, which has not been recognised by India as a legitimate political player in Afghanistan
    • The Russian format of consultation:
      •  On Afghanistan retains its important potential because of the broad participation of the stakeholders.
    • Other Afghan Peace Process Framework:
      • Troika Plus Meeting on Afghanistan: The U.S.-Russia-China-Pakistan grouping on Afghanistan peace process.
      • Moscow Format on Afghanistan: It was set up by Russia for Peace and stability in Afghanistan in the year 2017.
      • It is a six-party mechanism. It involved Russia, India, Afghanistan, Iran, China and Pakistan

    Way Ahead

    • Preventing the illicit use of land: Emphasis should be on preventing the use of Afghanistan’s territory for sheltering, training, planning or financing any terrorist acts.
    • Collective cooperation: Collective cooperation against the menace of radicalisation, extremism, separatism and drug trafficking in the region is needed.
    • Inclusive government: The solution comes only through the formation of an inclusive government with the participation of all ethnic groups.
    • Engaging with Taliban: Talking to the Taliban would allow India to seek security guarantees from the insurgents in return for continued development assistance or other pledges as well as explore the possibility of the Taliban’s autonomy from Pakistan.
    • Role of United Nations: The United Nations has a central role to play in Afghanistan and that its continued presence in the country must be preserved.
    • Socio-economic and humanitarian situation: Efforts needed to tackle the deteriorating socio-economic and humanitarian situation in Afghanistan, and underlined the need to provide urgent humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan.

    Source: TH