Published On: Fri, Dec 16th, 2016

India issues warning to Russia, Iran against engaging with Taliban

New Delhi, Dec 16: India has issued a warning on Thursday to Russia and Iran, which seem to be trying to change the ground situation in Afghanistan by engaging Taliban politically.

MEA spokespersonVikas Swarup said, “In so far as the Taliban is concerned, they have to respect the internationally agreed red lines, give up terrorism and violence, sever all ties with al-Qaida, agree to follow democratic norms and not do anything which will erode the gains of the last 15 years.”

This is an unusual cautionary note from India aimed at its oldest strategic partner. Even though India prefers to treat Russia with kid gloves, it feels Moscow’s latest moves in Afghanistan have the potential to stir serious trouble. Vikas Swarup stressed India and Russia’s special relationship.

“We do not see any downward trend in our bilateral relationship,” Swarup said. But it is clear that India has been disturbed by recent events.

Addressing Afghanistan’s upper house on the weekend, Russian envoy Alexander Mantytskiy was quoted as saying, “Zamir Kabulov (a high-ranking official in Russia’s foreign ministry) said our interests are the same as Taliban in fighting Daesh.” Russia now says it regards Taliban as a “national military-political movement”, but IS as a global jihadist movement that could destabilise Russia’s ‘near abroad’ – central Asia.