India for cautious approach on talks with Taliban



Washington: India has sought a cautious approach on the US-backed peace talks with the Taliban, warning against a victory for the "dark forces of terrorism" if such negotiations are put on a fast track.

"While we agree that ultimately there would have to be political solution, we also believe that this should not become an over-riding objective that needs to be achieved at all costs for that would risk the prospect of the victory of the dark forces of terrorism and extremism that have plagued the region for long," Indian Ambassador to the US, Nirupama Rao has said.

India has been "fully supportive of US efforts to fight terrorism in Afghanistan and to bring stability there. In this regard we are keenly watching recent efforts for a political dialogue," Rao said.

"Let us not wait for the dusk and the owl of Minerva to spread its wings, with awareness coming too late. Too much is at stake both for Afghanistan, and for our region in what happens in that country," Rao said.

Rao said both India and the US understand the imperative of ensuring success in Afghanistan. "We have been engaged in developmental assistance efforts in Afghanistan at considerable human and economic cost," she said. Rao said India's vision of Afghanistan is that it should become a stable peaceful and a very strong democratic country.

"It's a very diverse and pluralistic society like India. How do you cohere all the different ethnic groups and interest together. That's the challenge," she said.

Rao said India is closely watching the peace talks with the Taliban.

The top Indian diplomat in the US was delivering key note address at the Seminar "India as a Global Power: Contending Views from India" jointly organized by the Center for a New American Security, in partnership with The George Washington University's Rising Powers Initiative.

"Now the dialogue that has been launched with the Taliban, we have to see where that goes. But our vision for Afghanistan is that the progress that has been made in the last decade and a little more than that should not be turned back. The benefits that have accrued to women and children particularly should not be diminished in any way."

India's total assistance totaling to Afghanistan so far has been over USD 2 billion, which she said has been guided by the priorities of the Afghan government and people.

"We are in fact supplementing our individual assistance efforts with joint projects with the US in areas such as in capacity building, agriculture and women's empowerment in Afghanistan," she said.

PTI