India will not hold talks with Taliban: MEA


"India's consistent policy has been that such efforts should be Afghan-led, Afghan-owned, and Afghan-controlled, and with the participation of the government of Afghanistan".

He said India supports all efforts at peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan that will preserve unity and plurality, and bring security, stability and prosperity to the country. India will be participating in the Moscow conference but will not be indulging in any direct talks with the Taliban.

A joint statement issued following the summit said that both India and Russian Federation supported the Afghan government's efforts towards the realization of an Afghan-led, and Afghan-owned national peace reconciliation process.

India ending speculations would participate at the non-official level for the Moscow format of talks in the Russian capital on Friday where representatives of the Taliban will be present.

Sources told IANS that Amar Sinha, former Secretary in the External Affairs Ministry who also served as India's Ambassador to Afghanistan, and T.C.A. Raghavan, former Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan, will represent New Delhi at the Moscow talks. MEA also announced that PM Narendra Modi will attend the swearing-in ceremony of Maldivian president-elect Ibrahim Mohamed Solih next week.

The Moscow-format meeting on Afghanistan will be held on November 9 and representatives of the Afghan Taliban radical movement will take part in it, the Russian Foreign Ministry had said last week. "It was decided by the government that our participation will be at non-official level", he said.

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"Where did we say that there will be talks with the Taliban? This will be assessed at the conference, we hope to convey good news to the people of Afghanistan about direct talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban in the near future", said HPC spokesman Sayed Ehsan Tahiri.

The Taliban's attendance will bolster the group's worldwide status, while the meeting gives Moscow the chance to influence peace efforts until now dominated by Washington.

"The meeting will discuss the end of American invasion, identify problems and deliberate on regional peace", their statement read.

"We said that we will be participating in a meeting on Afghanistan which is hosted by Russian Federation".

The US Embassy in Moscow has sent a diplomat to observe Friday's discussions at the meeting which is being attended by representatives from Iran, China, Pakistan and other countries. The US State Department earlier explained its refusal due to, "the absence of significant results of the first meeting in Moscow regarding the Afghan peace process". But this time, it has managed to carefully balance Russian and U.S. interests, as it is sending the Afghan High Peace Council's representatives, instead of its foreign ministry representatives.