External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has said that New Delhi has “friends and influence” in Afghanistan. The comments come even as US and Taliban signed a deal that lead to American troops leaving the landlocked south Asian country but questions still remain on intra-Afghan talks.
EAM, speaking at an event in Delhi said, “Today, we Indians, have a very high standing, in Afghan society. People genuinely like us. A lot of the work we have done is appreciated. And when it comes to Afghanistan, my own sense is, people tend to be too hard on ourselves. I think we have influence, I think we have a record, I think we have friends, in Afghanistan, and around Afghanistan. And my own sense is that serious conversations about Afghanistan have only now just begun. We are entering a new phase, that phase has only just begun now.”
Asked about Pakistan’s role as destabliser in the region and role in Afghanistan, Jaishankar said, “Pakistan is the neighbour. It is the proximate neighbour, our border with Afghanistan is smaller than Pakistan’s. But you have to ask yourself what has Pakistan done, in the last 20 years, what has been their contribution. ”
“What is their mindset, most people know that…eventually all of us have a reputation, records, friends, partners, interests..it will play out..it will not play out in a hurry, but it will play out,” he added.
New Delhi was represented by Indian envoy to Qatar P Kumaran as a witness at the signing of the US Taliban agreement signed on 29th February.