India reiterates stress on Afghanistan-led peace process at Doha meet

India believes any peace process must be Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled

S Jaishankar
Jaishankar said far from mitigating already existing differences, the incidents of 2020 have actually put the relationship under "exceptional stress".

India on Saturday (September 12) participated in the opening session of intra-Afghan negotiations in Doha, with a senior government official attending in-person and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar delivering a virtual speech.

India made its stand on the future of Afghanistan very clear by stating that any peace process must be “Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled”.

The Doha session is historic in the sense that it marks the end of decades of war by the coming together of Taliban and delegates appointed by the Afghanistan government. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also attended the opening ceremony in Qatar.

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“India believes any peace process must be Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled, has to respect the national sovereignty and territorial integrity of Afghanistan,” a statement released by MEA read.

India was invited to Saturday’s inaugural session of the intra-Afghan negotiations in Doha by the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Qatar, H.E. Mohammad bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani.

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Jaishankar, during his speech, referred to the age-old relationship between India and Afghanistan. “The friendship of our peoples is a testimony to our history with Afghanistan. No part of Afghanistan is untouched by our 400-plus development projects. Confident that this civilizational relationship will continue to grow,” he said.

The minister further said, “India’s policy on Afghanistan had been consistent. India believes any peace process must be Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled, has to respect the national sovereignty and territorial integrity of Afghanistan and preserve the progress made in the establishment of a democratic Islamic Republic in Afghanistan. The interests of minorities, women and vulnerable sections of society must be preserved and the issue of violence across the country and its neighbourhood has to be effectively addressed.”

The minister wished the people of Afghanistan a peaceful and prosperous future in an independent and sovereign nation.

A senior official delegation led by JP Singh, Joint Secretary (PAI) in the Ministry of External Affairs, participated in the inaugural ceremony in Doha.

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