India, on Wednesday, hosted a high-level talk on Afghanistan, which China and Pakistan did not attend.
The dialogue in New Delhi was attended by seven other countries—Iran, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
It stressed the necessity of forming an “open and truly inclusive government that represents the will of all the people” of Afghanistan.
After the meeting, a 12-point “Delhi Declaration on Afghanistan” was released by India’s Ministry of External Affairs.
“The participants discussed the evolving situation in Afghanistan, especially the security situation and its regional and global ramifications. The sides paid special attention to the current political situation in Afghanistan and threats arising from terrorism, radicalisation and drug trafficking, as well as the need for humanitarian assistance,” the Ministry said in a statement.
During the meeting, participants reiterated “strong support for a peaceful, secure and stable Afghanistan while emphasizing the respect for sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity and non-interference in its internal affairs.”
The countries “expressed deep concern over the suffering of the people of Afghanistan arising from the security situation in Afghanistan and condemned the terrorist attacks in Kunduz, Kandahar and Kabul.”
They added that Afghanistan’s territory should “not be used for sheltering, training, planning or financing any terrorist acts.”
Maintaining that the UN has a central role to play in Afghanistan and that its continued presence in the country must be preserved, the participating countries also emphasised “the importance of ensuring that the fundamental rights of women, children and minority communities are not violated”.
The countries expressed concern over the deteriorating socio-economic and humanitarian situation in Afghanistan and underlined the “need to provide urgent humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan.”
“Humanitarian assistance should be provided in an unimpeded, direct and assured manner to Afghanistan and that the assistance is distributed within the country in a non-discriminatory manner, across all sections of the Afghan society,” it said.
The countries reiterated their commitment to providing assistance to Afghanistan to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
India had also sent invitations to China and Pakistan for the dialogue, but there was no representation from them.
Both China and Pakistan have long-standing border disputes with India.
Also, there was no representative from Afghanistan.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Rajiv Bhatia, a former Indian ambassador, said that no Afghan representative was invited because “India doesn’t recognise the present Taliban government in Afghanistan.
“Yet the conference was taking place on Afghanistan because of the intense regional dimensions which are very important to what the new government stands for.”