PM Modi chairs cabinet meeting on Afghanistan, asks officials to ensure safe evacuation of Indians

Prime Minister Modi chaired a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) to discuss the ongoing Afghanistan crisis where he instructed all the officials to undertake the required measures for the safe evacuation of the Indian Nationals from Afghanistan in the coming days.

Created On: Aug 18, 2021 13:12 IST
PM Modi meeting on Afghanistan
PM Modi meeting on Afghanistan

As Afghanistan comes under the rule of Taliban, the countries around the world are figuring out ways to ensure the safe evacuation of their citizens, officials, diplomats who have been stuck in a war-torn country.

Prime Minister Modi on August 17, 2021, also chaired a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) to discuss the ongoing Afghanistan crisis. In the meet, the Prime Minister has instructed all the officials to undertake the required measures for the safe evacuation of the Indian Nationals from Afghanistan in the coming days.

The High-level cabinet meeting was attended by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Home Minister Amit Shah. The External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, who is out of the country, was unable to attend the meeting.

Meeting of Cabinet Committee on Security:

Reportedly, the Cabinet Committee on Security chaired by PM Modi was briefed in detail regarding the current and evolving political situation in Afghanistan.

The cabinet was also briefed on the recent evacuations of the officials of the Indian Embassy and some members of the Indian Community as well as Indian media.

The senior officials including NSA Ajit Doval, Principal Secretary to PM PK Mishra, and Cabinet Secretary Rajeev Gauba were also present during the meeting.

Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla and India’s Ambassador to Afghanistan Rudrendra Tandon were also there. Tandon was on the evacuation flight from Kabul that landed in Jamnagar on August 17.

What did PM Modi say during meeting on Afghanistan?

Prime Minister Modi said that India must not only protect its own citizens but also must provide refuge to those Hindu and Sikh minorities who want to come to India.

Indian Government must also provide all the possible help to Afghan brothers and sisters who are looking towards India for assistance.

PM Modi has also been constantly in touch with the officials regarding the situation in Afghanistan. He took stock of the situation till late evening on August 17 and was also updated when the evacuation flight took off from Kabul.

India evacuates officials, embassy personnel from Afghanistan

On August 15, 2021, as Kabul fell into the hands of Taliban, India evacuated its staffers from the embassy in Kabul. The embassy personnel, including the Indo-Tibetan border police on the security duty, were flown back on the two Air Force Planes. The second one took off on August 17.

The first transport aircraft had left Kabul under the challenging circumstances and amid the chaos at the airport, where thousands of Afghans have been desperately trying to fly out of the country. The rest of the Indian diplomatic and security contingent were not able to leave because of the curfew announced by Taliban.

More than 120 people, including India’s Ambassador to Afghanistan Rudrendra Tandon, were able to leave in the morning of August 17. Reportedly, their departure is suspected to have been helped by an overnight conversation between Foreign Minister S Jaishankar and US secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Jaishankar in a tweet wrote, “Movement of the Indian Ambassador and the Embassy staff from Kabul to India was a difficult and complicated exercise. Thank all those whose cooperation and facilitation made it possible.”

What will be India’s biggest challenge in Afghanistan?

As Taliban takes control of Afghanistan, the biggest challenge for India is seen to be the repatriation of Afghan nationals who have been of help during the occupation.

The Indian Government assured that it will stand by the Afghans who have been India’s partners in the promotion of mutual development, educational and people-to-people endeavours. The Government also said that Sikhs and Hindus from Afghanistan will be given priority for repatriation.

Reportedly, more than 1,650 people have applied to return to India from Afghanistan. The Indian embassy in Afghanistan is currently run by the local staff who have been providing consular services.

India has been closely monitoring all the latest developments in Afghanistan and has also been issuing periodic advisories for the safety and security of the Indian Nationals in Afghanistan including calling for their immediate return to India.

Background:

Taliban entered Kabul on August 15, 2021, and took control of the Presidential Palace, sealing its militant rule over Afghanistan. The former President of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani flew the country, leading to the fall of the government.

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