India is engaged with important stakeholders and regional countries on the Afghan crisis and is adopting a “wait and watch” approach to see whether the new dispensation in Afghanistan will be solely a government of the Taliban or be part of a power-sharing arrangement with other Afghan leaders.
It is learnt that Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said this while briefing parliamentary leaders of political parties at an all-party meeting convened by the government to apprise them about India’s assessment and approach on the developments in Afghanistan after the Taliban seized its control.
Mr Shringla informed the lawmakers that India is working with its key partners and is continuing engagement with the people of Afghanistan, said one of the attendees on condition of anonymity.
The foreign secretary was part of the government team led by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar at the all-party meeting.
In his briefing, Mr Shringla told the lawmakers that the situation in Afghanistan is “quite fluid” and that India is closely monitoring the political and security developments in the country.
It is learnt that the foreign secretary conveyed to the lawmakers that India needs to see how the new set-up is formed and whether it is solely a government of the Taliban or whether there is power-sharing with other Afghan leaders.
In the last few days, senior Afghan leader Abdullah Abdullah has held a series of meetings in Kabul with senior Taliban leaders, representatives of different Afghan provinces, academicians and leading activists on the situation in the country and ways to establish an inclusive government.
Mr Shringla told the lawmakers that India has been in touch with countries such as the US, UK, France, Russia, China, Germany, Qatar, Iran, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan as well as with the UN Secretary-General and UN Security Council on the developments in Afghanistan.
In view of the ongoing humanitarian crisis, providing assistance to Afghan nationals in distress is important, Mr Shringla told the lawmakers, adding India is committed to providing leadership for the region in accordance with our “Neighbourhood First” policy.
He said India also received requests from its neighbouring countries for evacuation of their nationals from Afghanistan, said the attendee cited above.
Referring to challenges being faced in the evacuation of people from Kabul, Mr Shringla said there were incidents of frequent firing near the airport in the Afghan capital and in various parts of the city.
He said a number of security check-points have mushroomed in Kabul which were controlled by different militia groups and that access roads to the airport were choked with crowds who are desperate to leave the country.
In view of the imminent threat posed to the airport, NATO has blocked all the airport access gates and thousands of people were trying to enter the airport at the same time, he told the lawmakers.
It is learnt that he said at the meeting that since all the countries have started evacuations, the landing permissions at Kabul airport have become uncertain.
He also said that since India cannot use Pakistani airspace for overflying of the IAF aircraft, a long route had to be taken to Afghanistan and over-flight clearances at a very short notice had to be coordinated with relevant countries.
About the evacuation mission, he said a multi-agency team of the government of India personnel at the Kabul Airport coordinated with NATO and the US for landing permissions and access to the airport for people reaching it airport, said another attendee.
The foreign secretary said the India team is currently present at the Kabul airport for facilitation.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)