India will work with the international community to ensure political negotiations are pursued seriously, said External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar following his meeting with US State Secretary Antony Blinken in New Delhi on Wednesday.
Blinken and Jaishankar reportedly had detailed discussions on the situation in Afghanistan in the meeting yesterday.
“We were very clear that there must be a negotiated political settlement in Afghanistan, that there cannot be a military solution, there cannot be a takeover by use of force in Afghanistan,” responded Jaishankar to a question on China’s efforts to prop up the Taliban from BJP lawmaker Swapan Dasgupta.
He added that any outcome, which is decided by force, will not be accepted.
China hosted a rare nine-member Taliban delegation amid its recent ascendancy in Afghanistan, and Foreign Minister Wang Yi referred to Taliban as “a pivotal military and political force” in the country.
In the first meeting between the Taliban and China after the US started evacuating its troops from Afghanistan, the head of the Taliban delegates, chief political negotiator Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar asserted that the group “will not allow any force to use Afghan territory to do anything harmful to China.”
Blinken, commenting on the China-Taliban meeting, said that if China and other countries are working on that interest, then it’s a positive thing.
Meanwhile, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, in an interview on Tuesday, called the Talibanis “normal civilians” and said it is not a military outfit.
He defended accommodating the Taliban in Pakistan by saying, “there are three million refugees in Pakistan who are the same ethnic group as the Taliban,” and asked, “how is Pakistan supposed to hunt these people down?”
India has been increasingly concerned by a massive surge in violence in Afghanistan, including the Taliban’s campaign to capture districts in rural areas and crucial border crossings. It has repeatedly called for an immediate ceasefire and resumption of intra-Afghan talks to find a settlement.
The minister also defended India’s participation in the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue or Quad, a grouping that includes Australia, Japan and the US, in the face of criticism from China while responding to more questions.
“Let me make it very clear that when it comes to our relations with the US, Quad [and] Indo-Pacific, these are all our national choices which serve our national interests. We look at Quad as a platform where four countries have come together for the good of the world, who are discussing a range of issues from making and providing vaccines to education and connectivity to maritime security,” he said.