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India is carefully monitoring the situation in Afghanistan and its implications for the security of Indians in the war torn country, the Indian foreign ministry said on Thursday.

New Delhi’s response to the situation will be calibrated according to the evolving situation, foreign ministry spokesman Arindam Bagchi told reporters when asked if India was looking to bring back its consulate staff from Kandahar.

“You would have seen the clarification issued by our Embassy in Kabul earlier this week, that our Embassy in Kabul and Consulates in Kandahar and Mazar-e-Sharif are functional. We are, however, carefully monitoring the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan and its implications on the safety and security of Indian nationals in Afghanistan. Our response will be calibrated accordingly," Bagchi said.

Earlier this week, the Indian embassy in Kabul had said that Indian consulates in Mazar-e-Sharif in the north and Kandahar in the south were operating normally. This came amid media reports of many countries closing their consulates in the north of the country given the heavy fighting between the Taliban and the Afghan forces for the upper hand after the exit of the US forces from the countries. On 2 July, the US vacated the Bagram base – its biggest military facility in Afghanistan and the nerve centre of its operations for the past 20 years.

A person familiar with the developments said that New Delhi was drawing up contingency plans to evacuate its nationals should the need arise.

The situation in Afghanistan was one of the issues on the agenda of talks between Iran’s foreign minister Javad Zarif and Jaishankar when the latter stopped in Tehran for a technical halt on his way to Moscow.

“During his technical halt in Tehran (EAM) External Affairs Minister called on the President-elect Ayatollah Sayyid Ebrahim Raisi and held a meeting with Foreign Minister Dr. Javad Zarif," Bagchi said.

“EAM carried personal message from our Prime Minister to the President-elect of Iran. The two sides exchanged views on regional and global issues of mutual interest. They also discussed the evolving situation in Afghanistan and expressed concerns over the deteriorating security there," Bagchi said.

The two ministers also discussed two connectivity projects aimed at stabilizing Afghanistan economically by helping it trade with countries in its neighbourhood and beyond, Bagchi said.

“EAM reiterated India’s interests in the region and support for efforts to maintain peace, security and stability," Bagchi said.

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