India To Hold NSA-Level Meet On Afghanistan; Pak Won’t Attend, China Yet To Confirm

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India is set to host the regional security dialogue on Afghanistan on November 10, a meeting that will be conducted at the national security advisor (NSA) level, ANI sources said on Friday.

NSA Ajit Doval will chair the meeting next week. India had formally invited the NSAs of Russia, Iran, China, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan for the conference.

According to sources, there has been an overwhelming response to India’s invitation. Several countries including Russia and Iran have confirmed participation in the meeting, in which, not just Afghanistan’s immediate land neighbours are invited but also Central Asian countries are invited.

The enthusiastic response is a manifestation of the importance attached to India’s role in regional efforts to promote peace and security in Afghanistan, sources said.

Meanwhile, Pakistan has declined the invitation to the regional countries’ national security advisors meeting on Afghanistan being hosted by India.

“Pakistan’s decision is unfortunate, but not surprising. It reflects its mindset of viewing Afghanistan as its protectorate. Pakistan has not attended the previous meetings of this format. Its media comments against India are an unsuccessful attempt to deflect attention from its pernicious role in Afghanistan,” sources said.

Aside from Pakistan, another country that is yet to respond to India’s invitation is China. Two earlier meetings in this format have been held in Iran in September 2018 and December 2019. The third meeting in India could not be held earlier due to the pandemic.

The high-level participation in next week’s meeting hosted by India reflects the widespread and growing concern of regional countries about the situation in Afghanistan and their desire to consult and coordinate with each other, sources said. India has an important role to play in this process, they added.

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