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China and India’s interests do not clash in Afghanistan-Afghan envoy

China and India’s interests do not clash in Afghanistan--Afghan envoy

Ahead of triangular talks among China, Afghanistan and Pakistan on Thursday to discuss the fallout of US withdrawal, an Afghan diplomat has nudged India and China to seek common ground during his country’s ongoing transition. 

Afghanistan’s envoy to China, Javid Ahmad Qaem, told Chinese media ahead of the troika talks that “it is important for New Delhi and Beijing to build trust over Kabul regardless of other issues”.

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He added: “Afghanistan as a stable country is in favour of countries such as the US, China and India,” according to the Chinese state-run tabloid Global Times.  “It is more important how we and Pakistan can build trust, and how China and India can build trust regarding Afghanistan regardless of other issues. It is about peace in the whole region.”

Discussions during the troika meeting are expected to focus on “the Afghan peace and reconciliation process, practical cooperation, counterterrorism and security cooperation and new uncertainties in the wake of the unilateral withdrawal of US troops at a critical stage” of the reconciliation process

Chinese state councillor and foreign minister Wang Yi will chair the meet to be attended by counterparts Shah Mahmood Qureshi from Pakistan and Mohammad Haneef Atmar from Afghanistan, the Chinese foreign ministry announced on Wednesday.

Also read:  Afghanistan leadership’s war of words with Pakistan escalates amid pullout of US troops

While India is not part of this troika, it is clear that with the US exit from Afghanistan, the role of regional countries, including India, Pakistan, China, Iran, Russia and Central Asian republics, is crucial. In the last two decades, their role has largely been limited to reconstruction and development activities as the security responsibilities were taken by the US and NATO. Other than the two, only Pakistan has been involved indirectly in security issues due to its deep “linkages” with the Taliban.

Afghans consider China and India to be their traditional friends and trustworthy neighbours.  

While international pressure on Pakistan to get the Taliban back on the negotiating table grows, the Chinese side is wary of the Taliban coming to power. In May the Chinese foreign minister Wang had said China hoped to see a “moderate muslim” leadership in Afghanistan in the future and has assured the country of help in strengthening its anti-terrorism capacities. China fears that a radicalised Afghanistan can become both a sanctuary and a springboard for launching Uyghur insurgents into the mainland.