India to attend Heart of Asia meet to discuss peace in Afghanistan

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External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar with Foreign Minister of Afghanistan Mohammed Haneef Atmar during a mee...Read More

NEW DELHI: India has legitimate interests in peace and stability in the region and Afghanistan wants India to play a much greater role, said Haneef Atmar, Afghan foreign minister.
His comments to journalists on Tuesday, came as it became clear that foreign minister S Jaishankar will attend the Heart of Asia - Istanbul Process meeting in Dushanbe to talk about Afghanistan. India will also participate in the UN-led regional meeting of regional powers.
Speaking after a day of meetings with foreign minister Jaishankar and NSA Ajit Doval, Atmar said the forthcoming Afghan government-Taliban meeting in Turkey would see the government side discuss three important questions with the Taliban — “a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire; a political settlement keeping an acceptance of elections in mind; and third, regional and international guarantees of peace.”
Atmar said the Afghan government did not care for the US proposal of an “interim government”, because such a setup “would be a departure from the Afghan constitution.”
Atmar also revealed that the Afghan president Ashraf Ghani has offered that if the Taliban agreed to participating in elections under the Afghan constitution, he would order presidential elections before his presidential term ends. This, he said, has not yet been formally offered to the Taliban, but would be, in the coming weeks.
The Afghan foreign ministry said after Atmar’s meeting with NSA Ajit Doval, the two sides “discussed the peace plan of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan for the success of Afghanistan peace negotiations. He said the plan would pave the way for a lasting peace based on the will of the Afghan people and strengthen Afghanistan's role as a bridge for connectivity and cooperation between regional countries and the international community.”
The Afghan readout added, “Regarding the existence of terrorist groups and networks in the region, Mr. Atmar noted that the severance of ties between the Taliban and terrorist outfits was one of the group's commitments and a basic condition for the success of peace talks that can allow the return of the Taliban to political and civil life.”

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