Everything that has happened in Afghanistan was something that had been anticipated but the timeline had changed, India’s Chief of Defence Staff, Gen Bipin Rawat said on Wednesday.
Speaking at a seminar co-chaired by Commander of the US Indo-Pacific Command, Admiral John C. Aquilino, he noted that from the Indian perspective, “we were anticipating that Taliban would take over the Afghanistan”.
“We were concerned about how the terrorist activities from Afghanistan could spill over to India … our contingency planning has been ongoing and we are prepared for that. The timeline has certainly surprised us,” General Rawat said.
He, however, pointed out that Taliban is same as it was 20 years ago. “It is the same Taliban with different partners,” he said.
Taliban took control of Afghanistan on August, making the situation worse with many Afghan nationals fleeing the war-torn country. The conflict is pushing the people of Afghanistan into a humanitarian catastrophe.
India has reiterated that said the current situation in Afghanistan is of great concern to it and hopes that the country does not pose a challenge to its neighbours and is not used by terrorist groups such as LeT and JeM.
Earlier in the day, General Rawat and Admiral Aquilino held a meeting in New Delhi over the prevailing crisis in Afghanistan.
A Defence Ministry statement said that they discussed “issues related to peace and security in the region”.
They also held talks over bilateral defence cooperation. Admiral Aquilino also held meetings with all three service chiefs and Defence Secretary Ajay Kumar.
Earlier in the day, Admiral Aquilino began his visit by paying tribute to the fallen heroes by laying a wreath at the National War Memorial in New Delhi.
“He is on an official visit to India from August 24-26, 2021,” the ministry said.