New Delhi: Russia, India and China (RIC) are likely to hold important consultations on Afghanistan in New Delhi at the end of this month or early next month, sources have told this newspaper. Chinese vice-foreign minister Luo Zhaohui will represent China while foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale is expected to represent India, sources said. Mr Luo, incidentally, had served earlier as Chinese ambassador to India and had also visited India during the second informal summit earlier this month between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The RIC is a trilateral forum comprising the three countries.
All the three RIC countries will deliberate on the situation in the strife-torn country and how to arrive at a peaceful solution to the problem there. The meeting will take place in the wake of the recent collapse of the talks between the US and the Taliban and also amid recent speculation that the two sides may resume the talks.
India has carried out several important development works in Afghanistan and it has earned it tremendous goodwill among the Afghan people. India is also strongly backing the Afghan government and wants any solution there to be Afghan-owned, Afghan-led and Afghan-controlled. As reported earlier, the Afghan government too has made it clear that it will not allow certain “red lines” to be breached in the pursuit of peace in the war-torn country, one of them being the hard-fought improved status of women and representation given to them in the country’s polity. The troubled nation is regarded as the “heart of Asia” geographically.
Pakistan, incidentally, is seen to be the main backer of the Taliban which has launched deadly terror strikes including suicide attacks in Afghanistan, killing hundreds of people. In fact, it was one such gruesome terror attack carried out by the Taliban a few weeks ago that compelled the US to then cancel the peace talks it was holding with the dreaded outfit.