What’s at stake for India in the Afghan peace process?

By Livemint

1. What is the status of the peace talks?

The peace process has not made much headway mainly because violence by the Taliban continues unabated. One of the conditions of the February 2020 US-Taliban deal was a reduction in violence. That has not happened, though a temporary ceasefire has come into effect over Eid ul-Fitr.

The Taliban strategy seems to be to capture power in Kabul by violence and intimidation despite warnings from the international community. The Ashraf Ghani government, which has called for a permanent ceasefire, says it’s willing to schedule early elections to transfer power, an idea opposed by the Taliban.

2. The international community’s role

Many countries have been trying through multiple tracks to kickstart the stalled peace process in Afghanistan. A round of talks in Moscow was attended by the US, Russia, China, and Pakistan, besides representatives of Kabul and the Taliban in March this year. Another round in Turkey scheduled for April was called off after the Taliban refused to participate in the talks. UN-backed talks among Russia, China, Pakistan, Iran, India, and the US “to discuss a unified approach to supporting peace in Afghanistan,” do not seem to be happening.

3. What is New Delhi’s position on the issue?

India, which has committed $3 billion in development aid and reconstruction activities, backs the Ashraf Ghani government in war-torn country. New Delhi wants an “Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled” peace process—not one that is remote-controlled by Pakistan, seen as the backers of the Taliban.

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