Updated: Thu, 02 Jun 2022 02:11 PM IST
New Delhi/ Kabul | Jagran News Desk: An Indian delegation, led by Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Joint Secretary JP Singh, has arrived in Kabul to hold discussions with the Taliban government over humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan, said the central government on Thursday.
This is the first time since the Taliban's takeover of the country that an Indian team has reached Afghanistan to hold talks with the current government.
INDIA'S TAKE ON MEET WITH TALIBAN
In a press release, the MEA said the team will also meet representatives of the international organisations and visit several places in Afghanistan where projects by the Indian government are being implemented.
"India's development and humanitarian assistance has received a widespread appreciation across the entire spectrum of Afghan society," it said. "In this connection, the Indian team will meet the senior members of the Taliban, and hold discussions on India's humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan."
The Ministry said India has also decided to extend humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan, dispatching several shipments that consist 20,000 MTs of wheat, 13 tons of medicines, 500,000 doses of COVID Vaccine and winter clothing.
"In continuation with our developmental partnership with Afghan brethren, we have gifted one million doses of India-made COVAXIN to Iran to administer to Afghan refugees in Iran. We have also assisted UNICEF by supplying almost 60 million doses of polio vaccine and two tons of essential medicines," the MEA said.
WHY THIS MEET IS SIGNIFICANT?
The unannounced visit, according to experts, is significant as it indicates that India is considering ways to strengthen its base in Afghanistan following the Taliban takeover. However, it is not known yet which Taliban leaders will the Indian delegation meet.
It is important to mention here that India had closed its embassy in Kabul, and consulates in Mazar-e-Sharif, Herat, Jalalabad and Kandahar after the fighting between Taliban and government forces intensified in Afghanistan.
Recently, Taliban leaders had also shown interest in holding talks with India which might have paved the way for the delegation's sudden visit to Kabul. Speaking to CNN-News18, Taliban Defence Minister Mullah Yaqoob had said that the new Afghan government has "great expectations" from India, which has regularly helped Afghanistan in the past.
"We assure that India, similar to other countries, can come here and open their embassies for which the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan can and will safeguard and provide security to them," Yaqoob, son of Taliban founder Mullah Mohammad Omar, said.
"But, before the beginning of defence relations, the first requisite is to have good diplomatic relations and take it forward. When we will together have cordial political and diplomatic relations, then only we would be ready for defence relations," he added.