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India to host security dialogue on Afghanistan

India will host a high-level security dialogue on Afghanistan on Wednesday, but Pakistan and China are not due to attend.

The Delhi Regional Security Dialogue will be held at the level of the national security adviser or secretaries of security councils, and will be chaired by the Indian national security adviser, Ajit Doval, said an External Affairs Ministry announcement.

“The Delhi Regional Security Dialogue on Afghanistan will witness an expanded participation of Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, who will all be represented by their respective National Security Advisers/ Secretaries of the security councils,” the ministry said.

Stating that “high-level dialogue” will review the security situation in the region in the wake of the Taliban taking power in Afghanistan this August, the ministry said that it “will deliberate upon measures to address the relevant security challenges and support the people of Afghanistan in promoting peace, security, and stability.”

According to the statement, India has “traditionally enjoyed close and friendly ties” with the people of Afghanistan and has called for a “unified international response to address the security and humanitarian challenges facing Afghanistan,” the ministry noted, adding that the meeting is a step in that direction.

India had also sent invitations to China and Pakistan for the dialogue. While Pakistan’s National Security Advisor Moeed Yusuf said he would not attend, China, according to Indian government sources, is also not attending due to “scheduling issues.”

Two earlier meetings in this format were held in Iran in September 2018 and December 2019, said officials, adding the third meeting in India could not be held earlier due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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