Media reports of a secret meeting between Indian foreign minister S Jaishankar and Taliban officials in Doha, Qatar, were quickly denied by the government. This was not surprising as India has traditionally been opposed to the Pakistan-backed militant group and refused to recognise its government in Afghanistan between 1996 and 2001.
India, like the rest of the world except Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, severed all diplomatic ties with the country during the Taliban regime and had vocally supported the Northern Alliance government.
But with large swathes of Afghanistan falling into the hands of the Taliban, forcing India to evacuate its employees from the Kandahar consulate, and with intelligence reports saying the militants could overrun the country within six months to two years of the United States troop pullout, India finds itself in a fix given its huge economic and strategic investments there. (See graphic)
So how does India continue to protest its interests in a rapidly changing Afghan scenario? Opinions are expectedly divided but some feel it may not be a bad idea to engage with the Taliban.