India will not hold talks with Taliban, says MEA

| | New Delhi
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India will not hold talks with Taliban, says MEA

Saturday, 10 November 2018 | PNS | New Delhi

Clarification after ex-J&K CM Omar slams Centre on reports for holding talks with Taliban but not Kashmiri stakeholders

Putting all the speculations to rest, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Friday said it will not hold any talks with the Taliban. The MEA clarified that it had never said Indian representatives at an Afghan peace summit will be holding talks with the militant group.

Addressing a Press conference, MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said no such discussions with Taliban representatives will be held in the Moscow format meeting on Afghanistan. “There is no question of holding talks with Taliban. We just said we will be participating in the meeting on Afghanistan which will be hosted with its President Ashraf Ghani,” Kumar said.

This clarification comes in the backdrop of former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah slamming the Centre on reports for holding talks with Taliban but not Kashmiri stakeholders.

Kumar further said India is just part of the meeting as it supports the reconciliation process. “If any process is consistent with our policy on Afghanistan, then we will be part of it. We have already made it clear that our participation is at a non-official level,” he said. Afghan leaders, Taliban attend peace talks in Moscow.

Omar had pointed fingers at the Government for not holding “non-official” dialogue with non-mainstream stakeholders to resolve the Jammu & Kashmir issue and was instead participating in the meeting which includes Taliban representatives.

“If “non-official” participation in a dialogue that includes the Taliban is acceptable to the Modi Government why not a “non-official” dialogue with non-mainstream stakeholders in J&K? Why not a “non-official” dialogue centered around J&K’s eroded autonomy & its restoration?” Omar wrote on his Twitter handle.

Moscow on Friday hosted international talks on Afghanistan aimed at kick starting direct negotiations between Kabul and Taliban militant group, both of whom sent delegations.

                Taliban has sent five representatives but has made it clear that they will not hold any sort of negotiation with the delegation of Kabul administration.

This is the first time that a Taliban delegation is taking part in such high level international meeting.  The Taliban is banned from operating in Russia as it is classified as a ‘terrorist organisation’.

“India supports all efforts at peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan that will preserve unity and plurality, and bring security, stability, and prosperity to the country. India’s consistent policy has been that such efforts should be Afghan-led, Afghan-owned, and Afghan-controlled and with the participation of the Government of Afghanistan,” the MEA added.

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