India, China discuss plans to deal with Afghanistan after 2014



Beijing: India and China on Thursday held their first dialogue on Afghanistan here in a bid to evolve a joint strategy to deal with much feared possible return of Taliban and al Qaeda after the departure of US troops next year.

"The two sides agreed that Afghan issue concerns regional security and stability", Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told a media briefing here.

"China and India are two important countries in the region and consultations on Afghanistan helps them to coordinate positions, deepen cooperation and contribute to early settlement of the issue", she said.

This is the first time that China held such a dialogue with India on Afghanistan, expanding consultations with its close ally Pakistan and Russia.

China is trying to seek convergence of positions for a possible joint strategy to deal with volatile situation with the likely return of Taliban and al Qaeda militant groups.

Today's talks on Afghanistan were held between Yash Sinha, Additional Secretary, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran, (PAI) and Luo Zhaohui, Director General of Asian Division of the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

The Indian delegation later met Deputy Foreign Minister of China Zhai Jun.

China has held trilateral dialogue with India and Russia and a separate similar dialogue with Russia and Pakistan.

The issue also figured prominently in this month's annual Counter Terrorism talks between India and China signifying Beijing's concerns over emergence of Islamic militant groups as well as its dwindling confidence in Pakistan's ability to rein in on Taliban and other groups.

PTI