The world should not forget the situation in Afghanistan, including the threat from terrorists operating on Afghan soil and the need for a coordinated global response to this problem, external affairs minister S Jaishankar said on Tuesday
A range of regional issues, including the humanitarian crisis and terrorism in Afghanistan and talks to revive Iran’s nuclear deal, figured in discussions between Jaishankar and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in Moscow. Jaishankar briefed Lavrov on recent developments in India’s neighbourhood, including economic difficulties faced by some countries and cross-border terrorism.
“It is important that the world not forget what is the situation in Afghanistan, because today I think it is not getting the attention it deserves,” Jaishankar said in response to a question at a joint news conference with Lavrov.
The world community has concerns about terrorism and terrorists who operate out of Afghanistan “with good reason”. Referring to commitments made by the Taliban in this regard, he said: “It is legitimate that the international community, especially the neighbours, today work together to ensure that there is no terrorism threat that comes out of Afghanistan.”
India has stepped forward to address the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan by providing food, medicines and Covid-19 vaccines, and by “trying to find ways by which the Afghan people are supported in a very difficult phase of their history”, Jaishankar said.
The commitments made in respect of Afghanistan are covered by UN Security Council resolution 2593 and it is “important that those obligations are kept”. India has discussed Afghanistan with Russia in various formats, and looks forward to being present at the “Moscow format” of talks.
Referring to efforts to revive the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) or Iran’s nuclear deal, which collapsed when former president Donald Trump pulled the US out of the arrangement, Jaishankar said India believes a way forward “must be found in the interest of global peace, security and non-proliferation”.
While briefing Lavrov on recent trends in the Indian subcontinent, Jaishankar said some countries had experienced “serious economic difficulties” and there were other factors of instability. “Terrorism, including its cross-border manifestation, remains a major concern,” he said, without naming Pakistan.
India and Russia also have a stake in the progress and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific and highly value the centrality of Asean to the larger regional architecture, he added. The two sides also discussed the current situation in West Asia, including matters related to Syria and Palestine.
“India today has a wide range of interests and a growing footprint. Some of this is expressed in terms of our UN responsibilities, like the chair of the Libya Committee, some in our traditionally close partnerships with Africa, and now increasingly, our deeper economic involvement with many regions,” Jaishankar said.
The world is moving towards greater multi-polarity through steady and continuous re-balancing. And that especially means a multipolar Asia. As prominent nations who have a positive history of working together, this will naturally influence the conversations between Russia and India,” he added.
The two sides also reviewed their cooperation and coordination at multilateral platforms such as the G20, Brics, Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, and the working of the UN and its key bodies. Jaishankar noted that the “case for reformed multilateralism, including a reformed UN Security Council, is becoming difficult to deny”.
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