India and China have agreed to consult closely on the ongoing efforts to bring peace to Afghanistan i.e. the initiative taken by the US to talk to the Taliban to persuade them to lay down arms and end violence in the country.
Indian foreign ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar in a Twitter post on Friday said Chinese Special Envoy Ambassador Deng Xijun was on a visit to New Delhi and held talks on the subject with Indian foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale.
“Chinese Special Envoy Ambassador Deng Xijun today held discussions with Indian officials on the situation in Afghanistan, including peace and reconciliation efforts. He also called on Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale," Kumar said in one of his posts.
“The two sides agreed to consult closely on the evolving situation in Afghanistan and carry forward the decision taken by the leadership of the two countries on joint cooperation in Afghanistan," he added.
Cooperation on Afghanistan was one of the subjects identified by India and China to boost mutual trust and confidence when the leaders of India and China met in Wuhan in April last year. The two leaders — prime minister Narendra Modi of India and President Xi Jinping of China — had met in Wuhan to primarily stabilise ties rocked by the 73 day long stand off in Bhutan’s Doklam plateau in 2017.
The two countries had then spoken of jointly training Afghan diplomats — an initiative that the two countries have launched.
With the Afghan peace talks now underway in Qatar between the US and the Taliban, India has been hoping to coordinate its position with China and other countries in the region to ensure that its interests are taken care of when the US pulls its troops out of the country after a 17 year deployment there. India is worried that the Taliban joining the government in Kabul could mean arch rival Pakistan getting a major say in governance in Afghanistan. The Taliban are seen as controlled by Pakistan.
Earlier this week, US special envoy on Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad visited New Delhi for consultations on the Afghan peace process.
The Taliban has assured that it will not allow any terrorists groups to operate from Afghanistan and Indian officials have said that the US has assured New Delhi that this includes terrorist groups targeting India as well — something New Delhi has been worries about.