New Delhi, Sep 20 (IANS) Even as media reports cited the Russian Foreign Ministry as saying that Taliban was prepared to attend multilateral peace talks on Afghanistan in Moscow, sources here said on Wednesday that India is against any dialogue with the militant group without the presence of the Afghan government.
The sources said that during External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s visit to Moscow last week for the 23rd India-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission on Technical and Economic Cooperation (IRIGC-TEC), New Delhi made it very clear that it does not recognise the Taliban as a legitimate force.
“Without the presence of the Afghan government, talks with the Taliban is not possible,” a source said.
A media report quoted the Afghan Embassy in Moscow as saying that the Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister will travel to Moscow on Thursday to discuss the dates of talks.
India reiterated its commitment and support to Kabul’s efforts towards an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled peace and reconciliation process at a meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani here on Wednesday.
According to the sources, during her visit to Moscow, Sushma Swaraj also voiced India’s concerns over the situation in Syria during a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
“Extensive discussions were held on the situation in Syria and Russia’s position on the crisis in the West Asian nation,” a source said.
“The situation in Idlib province was also discussed.”
Russia and Turkey on September 17 agreed on a de-militarised zone in Syria’s Idlib province, a move that ostensibly puts on hold an all-out assault by government forces on Syria’s last rebel bastion.
According to the sources here, Lavrov gave an extensive presentation of Russia’s approach to the Syrian crisis during his meeting with Sushma Swaraj.
The Indian Minister also expressed New Delhi’s apprehension over civilian casualties in case of an all-out assault on Idlib.
Just before her visit to Moscow, Sushma Swaraj’s visit to Damascus over the security security situation in Syria was cancelled.
This would have been the first high-level visit from India to Syria since civil war erupted in that West Asian nation in 2011.
The Indo-Pacific region also came up for discussion during Sushma Swaraj’s Moscow visit and the Indian side made it clear that it is for carrying along everybody together in this geostrategic region and its strategy is not against any specific country.
India is part of a quad that also includes the US, Japan and Australia revived last year that seeks to work for peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region.