India`s concerns over talks with Taliban won`t be overlooked: US

Last Updated: Monday, June 24, 2013 - 18:31

New Delhi: The US on Monday assured India that its concerns over Taliban insurgents gaining legitimacy without severing their terror links will neither be "overlooked or undermined" during the talks with the Islamic fundamentalist group.

This emerged after the 4th round of Indo-US Strategic Dialogue here that was co-chaired by External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid and his American counterpart John Kerry and covered key strategic issues of security, defence, nuclear cooperation and trade ties.

Khurshid, at a joint presser with Kerry, said "this (proposed talks with Taliban) is an experiment that is being done in order to find an alternative for sustainable peace in Afghanistan. One cannot disagree with the issues or dimensions or aspects which are of concern to us. I must say with gratitude that the Secretary of State himself earmarked that and said that as they proceed, they will ensure that none of the concerns of India are overlooked or undermined.

"That is a good way of working closely together. It is very cear what the objective is and how far that objective is possible, only time will tell. But with caution and care being approched as an objective, I think it is something that nobody will have a problem with".

Khurshid was asked if he raised India`s concerns over the proposed talks with the Taliban in view of the impending withdrawal of US troops from war-torn Afghanistan.

On his part, Kerry made it very clear that the talks with the Taliban will only be negotiated under "certain conditions. Thus far, those conditions have not yet been met. So, there are no negotiations at this point. If the conditions are met, then there will be negotiations that will take place. Not with the US but with the High Peace Council of Afghanistan."
He also said the requirements included that the constitution of Afghnaistan must be respected, that they (Taliban) do not affliate or associate themselves, in fact disassociate themselves, from Al-Qaeda, violence and that the rights of women, minorities will be respected.
"Now, that is not going to change. If it is required to be changed, obviously there will be no agreement. But it is there to explore the possibilities of having a peaceful resolution and conclusion of a political process if it is possible. Ulitemately, that will be decided by the Afghan people....", Kerry added.

PTI



First Published: Monday, June 24, 2013 - 18:31

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