Even as Pakistan and China are not taking part in a regional dialogue on Afghanistan hosted by Delhi today, NSAs of seven countries will participate in the first-of-its-kind dialogue which will focus on security-related issues and is distinct from foreign-ministry led talks. National Security Advisers or Secretaries of Security Councils of five central Asian countries – Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan besides Russia and Iran – will attend the Delhi meet on Afghanistan.
This is the highest number of countries taking part in this format. The meeting will be chaired by India’s National Security Advisor Ajit Doval. Earlier, Iran had hosted dialogues in a similar format.
India has been involved in dialogue on Afghanistan at several levels regionally and multilaterally in recent months.
With regard to central Asian countries, India has regular intense interactions with their security establishments.
India participated in the G20 dialogue on Afghanistan. NSA Doval also hosted BRICS meeting on Afghanistan. Russian NSA along with top defence and intelligence officials flew to India in September this year to discuss Afghanistan.
Sources said all the participating countries value India’s role in Afghanistan. This is the reason they are engaging deeply. There is considerable worry about the implications of what happened in these societies.
“If we find some common ground in the meeting, it will be forward movement. Key countries of the region agree upon threats we all face and what should be done in the future. Sometimes, there is no consensus on threats we face. We are hopeful there will be unanimity,” a source said.
Uncertainty in Afghanistan is another factor that is a cause of concern for participating members.
There is no clarity on which way and what will be the shape of things to come in the future in Afghanistan.
“There is a high degree of convergence. Points of concern are very similar. Our objective in Afghanistan is to take into account the rights of the minority,” the source added.
Growing radicalisation and extremism worries central Asian countries and they are against “exports of ideology from Afghanistan”.
Many of these countries have unsettled borders.
On the non-participation of Pakistan, sources said it has never wanted to be part of the solution. They said there is a recognition among participating countries that Pakistan is one of the sources of the problem.
They also said ISI did provide a base to Taliban, it has links with Haqqani’s network and its links with ISK cannot be ruled out.
The visiting NSAs will jointly call on Prime Minister Narendra Modi. NSA Doval will also host dinner for participants.
Those who will take part in the meeting include Admiral Ali Shamkhani¸ Secretary, Supreme National Security Council Iran; Karim Massimov, Chairman of National Security Committee, Kazakhstan; Marat Mukanovich Imankulov, Secretary of the Security Council of Kyrgyz Republic; Nikolai P. Patrushev, Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation; Nasrullo Rahmatjon Mahmudzoda, Secretary, Security Council of Tajikistan; Charymyrat Kakalyyevvich Amavov, Deputy Chairman of Cabinet of Ministers of Turkmenistan on Security and Secretary, State Security Council and Victor Makhmudov, Secretary of the Security Council under the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan.
Sources said the top agenda items during the meeting will be terrorism in Afghanistan and across borders, radicalisation and extremism and cross-border movement.
They said that the central Asian countries also worried about drug production and trafficking.
The sources said that the meeting will also deliberate on the threats emanating from vast amounts of military weapons left in Afghanistan.
(With inputs from ANI)
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