India, Russia consultations on Afghanistan today in Delhi

Indian Army soldiers were killed due to a violent face-off between Indian and Chinese troops at the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh. Photo: Getty Images. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

NEW DELHI, Sep 8, 2021, DNA. India, Russia will hold consultations on Afghanistan in Delhi on Wednesday, a direct outcome of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s talks on August 24. In the 45-minute-long conversation, both decided to form a “permanent bilateral channel” for consultations on Afghanistan. The Wednesday talks will be led by NSA Ajit Doval and the visiting Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation General Nikolay Patrushev, DNA India reported.

A release by the Ministry of External Affairs read, “At the invitation of National Security Adviser Shri Ajit K. Doval, the Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation, General Nikolay Patrushev is visiting India for High Level India-Russia Inter-Governmental Consultations on Afghanistan from 7-8 September 2021.”

The meeting comes hours after Taliban on Tuesday announced name of its Prime Minister and cabinet. Under the new list, Mullah Hassan Akhund will be the head of the govt and he will have 2 deputies–Mullah Baradar and Mawlavi Hannafi, interior minister will be Sirajuddin Haqqani, foreign minister will be Amir Khan Muttaqi. All of them are on the UN terror list, while Sirajuddin Haqqani carries on him $5 million award announced by the FBI.

The situation in Afghanistan is seen as security challenge to both India & Russia. For India, Afghanistan could become a safe haven for Pakistan-based terror groups, and for Russia, a spillover of the crisis can impact friendly Central Asian countries like Uzbekistan, Tajikistan.

The next few months will see increased India-Russia engagement. India will host the BRICS virtual summit on Thursday which will be chaired by PM Modi and see participation of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Putin is expected to visit India later this month for the much-awaited annual India Russia bilateral summit. This year will also see deliveries of the first units of S400 air defense systems.

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