Up to Pakistan to stop terror in Afghanistan, India tells Russia

India has repeatedly said in the past few weeks that its primary objective for now is to ensure that Pakistan-based terror groups don’t use Afghan territory to mount attacks against others.

The government highlighted Pakistan ISI’s links with India-focused terror groups in Afghanistan, including Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed, and stressed Islamabad’s ties with Taliban and other international terror groups during a high-level inter-government dialogue with Russia on the Afghan situation. Official sources said the meeting saw substantive exchanges, with both sides expressing similar views on most issues including terrorism and the need for Taliban to fulfil its commitments.

National security adviser Ajit Doval is learned to have told his counterpart Nikolay Patrushev that Pakistan has the “special responsibility” of ensuring that Afghanistan’s soil was not used to spread terrorism and carry out anti-India activities.

India has repeatedly said in the past few weeks that its primary objective for now is to ensure that Pakistan-based terror groups don’t use Afghan territory to mount attacks against others.

According to Russia, the two sides discussed “humanitarian and migration problems” in Afghanistan, as well as prospects for Russian-Indian joint efforts aimed at creating conditions for launching a peaceful settlement process on the basis of an intra-Afghan dialogue. “In addition, they agreed to coordinate the approaches of Russia and India in multilateral formats on the Afghan settlement,” said the Russian statement.

The meeting on Afghanistan took place a day ahead of the BRICS summit, in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi is again expected to highlight concerns on terrorism, and also SCO summit next week where Pakistan PM Imran Khan will also be present.

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Despite the importance they attach to Pakistan’s role in Afghanistan, Russia and China are concerned about the presence of terrorist groups and India has been emphasising to Moscow and others that India-oriented and UN-proscribed LeT and JeM are as deadly as any other terror group, if not more.

Official sources said this was the first “detailed and extensive” review of the Afghanistan situation involving MEA, defence ministry and security agencies with Russia after the fall of Kabul to Taliban on August 15. India is also learnt to have expressed concern over security of minorities, including Hindus and Sikhs in Afghanistan.

After the delegation talks, Patrushev called on Modi and foreign minister S Jaishankar. In the meeting with Modi, according to a Russian press statement, the two sides reaffirmed the intention to strengthen coordination for enhancing regional stability, including in Afghanistan.

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