The Russian Security Council said on Wednesday that Secretary Nikolai Patrushev has started the annual consultations with Indian National Security Advisor Ajit Doval in New Delhi, with developments in Afghanistan expected to be on the agenda.
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The consultations are held as part of Patrushev’s visit to the Indian capital. Apart from the security talks, the visit’s agenda includes meetings with Indian leadership and bilateral consultations on Afghanistan.
“The Russian-Indian consultations on security have started in India. They are held by Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev from the Russian side and National Security Advisor of the Prime Minister Ajit Doval from the Indian [side],” Russian Security Council spokesman Yevgeny Anoshin told reporters.
The 2020 Russian-Indian consultations could not hold in-person meetings due to the coronavirus pandemic. In 2019, the consultations took place in Moscow, and focused on bilateral military and technical cooperation.
The Indian foreign ministry said on Tuesday that the situation in Afghanistan would be among the issues to be discussed during the security consultations. It also said that the consultations will build on issues discussed by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin in a phone call on August 24.
The two leaders instructed Russian and Indian senior officials to remain in touch concerning the situation in Afghanistan.
With the start of the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan in early May, tensions in the Central Asian country has been mounting and culminated with the Taliba taking over on August 15.
On Tuesday, the radical movement unveiled their caretaker government. The all-male interim government consists mostly of senior Taliban officials, with Hasan Akhund, who has been under UN sanctions since 2001, at the helm.
Meanwhile, Pakistan will host a virtual meeting of foreign ministers of countries neighboring Afghanistan on Wednesday to discuss the latest developments and prospects for the region, the Pakistani foreign ministry said.
Pakistan first convened envoys of Afghanistan’s six neighbors for virtual consultations on Sunday. The latest meeting will build on topics discussed there.
“Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi will chair the meeting, to be attended by China, Iran, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan,” the ministry said in a statement, adding that the meeting “will provide an opportunity to neighbors of Afghanistan to work together for the shared objective of a peaceful and stable Afghanistan, which is essential to forge strong economic linkages and realize connectivity agenda.”
Islamabad said that Afghanistan’s neighbors “have a vital stake in the stability of the country,” while the normalization of the situation in Afghanistan is an important factor in regional trade, transit and security.