Jaishankar says India’s focus is on ensuring the security in Afghanistan and the safe return of Indian nationals who are there
NEW DELHI :
India is adopting a wait and watch approach, keeping a careful eye on the developments in Afghanistan, amid moves to put in place an administration for the war torn country.
The Islamist rebel Taliban who took control of Kabul on Sunday after a lightning sweep across the country controlling almost 90% of territory are yet to announce a government. This followed the resignation of President Ashraf Ghani after the Taliban closed in on Kabul.
“At the moment we are, like everybody else, very carefully following developments in Afghanistan," Indian foreign minister S Jaishankar said in comments to reporters overnight Thursday.
“I think our focus is on ensuring the security in Afghanistan and the safe return of Indian nationals who are there," Jaishankar said in response to a question.
On Tuesday, India pulled out its ambassador Rudrendra Tandon and other embassy staffers from Kabul citing the precarious security situation. Thousands of people have besieged the Kabul airport desperate to leave the country after the Taliban takeover fearing a return to repressive rules and laws.
The situation in Afghanistan "is really what has been very much the focus of my own engagements here, talking to the UN Secretary-General and other colleagues who are here as well as the US Secretary of State (Antony Blinken)," Jaishankar said.
In response to another question on India's investments in Afghanistan over the last two decades and whether New Delhi will be engaged in Afghanistan that now has a Taliban government, the minister said: “you use the word investment. I mean, for us, it reflected what was a historical relationship with the Afghan people."
“I think that relationship with the Afghan people obviously continues and that will guide our approach to Afghanistan in the coming days. At this time, as I said, these are early days. Our focus right now is on ensuring the safety and security of Indian nationals who are there," the minister said.
When asked if India has had any communication with the Taliban in recent days, Jaishankar said: “at this point of time, we are looking at what is the evolving situation in Kabul. Obviously, the Taliban and its representatives have come to Kabul so I think we need to take it on from there."
According to people familiar with the development, Jaishankar is to return to India on Saturday, putting off plans to visit Mexico, Panama and Guyana in view of the developments in Afghanistan.