India joins Moscow meet, despite exclusion in first round
Despite exclusion in the first round of conference, India attended the second round of Moscow meet on Afghanistan issues.
India along with six other nations participated in a meet held in Moscow on 15 February 2017. The conference was conducted to discuss Afghanistan’s future.
In a similar conference held two months earlier, Russia had invited only China and Pakistan, a move that was objected by both India and Afghanistan. India especially objected its exclusion from the previous conference on Afghanistan, as it has always believed in a close and constructive cooperation for peace and stability in the region.
Following it, Moscow agreed to expand its circle and hold a six-nation conference including Russia, China, Pakistan, India, Afghanistan and Iran. The one-day conclave was led by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s special envoy to Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov. While Gopal Baglay represented India at the meet, Pakistan was represented by Mansoor Ali Khan.
• India has always shared a strong strategic, military, economic and diplomatic relationship with Russia and before that with the Soviet Union.
• However, over the past few months, both the nations have developed differences on the moves in Afghanistan.
• India was also increasingly uncomfortable with Russia’s proposals to Pakistan on defence issues.
• Russia also did not join US, UK and France in passing a resolution to list Pakistan-based JeM leader Masood Azhar as a terrorist. The resolution was then blocked by China.
• Apart from this, Russia has been seen harbouring a softer approach towards Taliban, in an effort to counter the spread of Islamic State in Afghanistan.
• Both Russia and China have also been in close coordination to demand delisting of senior Taliban leaders who were designated as terrorists by the UN sanctions committee.