NEW DELHI: India will host a NSA-level conference, Delhi Regional Security Dialogue, on Afghanistan on November 10, government confirmed on Friday.
While a formal response to India’s invite is still awaited from China and Pakistan, official sources said there had been an “overwhelming response” to India’s initiative with Russia, Iran and for the first time all central Asian countries, including the ones which don’t share boundary with Afghanistan, confirming participation.
Official sources also slammed Pakistan for indicating it won’t attend the in-person conference that will be chaired by NSA Ajit Doval and said the recent remarks by Islamabad, including the one by Pakistan NSA Moeed Yusuf in which he described India as a spoiler, were an unsuccessful attempt to deflect attention from its pernicious role in Afghanistan.
“Pakistan has indicated through the media that it will not attend. Pakistan’s decision is unfortunate, but not surprising. It reflects its mindset of viewing Afghanistan as its protectorate,” said a government source on Islamabad’s refusal to participate, adding Pakistan had not attended the previous meetings of the format.
Russian NSA Nikolay Patrushev’s participation is of particular significance for India because of Moscow’s leading role in formulating an international response to the situation in Afghanistan.
The government sees the “enthusiastic” high-level participation in the conference, which was first reported by TOI on October 16, as a manifestation of the importance attached to India’s role in regional efforts to promote peace and security in Afghanistan.
China though has been quiet on the issue and it seems unlikely at this stage that it will even join the conference virtually. Pakistan’s reluctance to participate in the conference also doesn’t bode well for India’s proposal to deliver 50,000 MT wheat to Afghanistan through the land route via the Wagah-Attari border. Islamabad is yet to accede to the proposal as it remains keen to deny India any role or profile in Afghanistan.

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