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India joins Russia and Iran to form Moscow backed troika on Afghanistan

Special envoys from regional countries met for Moscow format talks in Russia today

India has moved to the frontline of diplomacy to resolve the turbulent situation in Taliban ruled Afghanistan by joining Russia and Iran in a new Moscow-backed troika.

Sources told India Narrative that the first meeting of the troika is being held on the side-lines of the Moscow-format talks which began earlier on Wednesday.

Representatives of Russia, China, India, Iran, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan are participating.

Russia, the United States and China formed the earlier troika which has now been disbanded. The US exit from Afghanistan and the beginning of the Ukraine war where Washington  is spearheading international military and diplomatic opposition against Moscow, has persuaded Russia to change the troika’s composition.

Earlier speaking to India Narrative, Russia’s special adviser to President Putin, Zamir Kabulov cited several reasons as to why Moscow welcomed India’s decision to open a diplomatic presence in Kabul, and the need for New Delhi’s presence in a regional grouping to address the Afghanistan situation.

“I am completely supporting the move (by India). Let us be modest but it is a good step ahead. Now that the American approach and stand is very destructive, (they) will try revenge against Taliban first of all, fully supporting Tajik resistance minority, money wise, weapon wise. Of course they cannot provide a lot as they do not have the capacity to do it. But they are doing their best. But again that would mean restarting the civil war,(opening) bases in Afghanistan, which we don’t want. We don’t  maybe like the Taliban that much but we do not have different situations and a different society. We have to live what we have.”

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The Russian diplomat explained that Moscow was looking for a “regional solution” to address the Afghan situation. He said apart from Russia, India, China, Iran and Pakistan were the key players in Afghanistan. “We have the Moscow format, but we need a core grouping of those who can deliver.”

India’s joint secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs, JP Singh is participating both in the Moscow format dialogue as well as the troika meet. “The Moscow format is too unwieldy and so a decision was taken to invite India and Iran for the Troika meet so that focused discussions can take place,” a source said.

India’s even-handed approach towards Russia after the Ukraine conflict appears to have persuaded Moscow to prioritize New Delhi’s presence in regional diplomacy around Afghanistan.

Also Read: Russia says India can make a significant contribution to stabilise Afghanistan