The evolving dynamics in Afghanistan and the need to observe international obligations for action against UN designated terror entities, along with regional connectivity, are among issues likely to dominate the agenda for the inaugural security meeting that will see participation by Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, along with India.
Sources said the meeting will see discussions on finding ways to ensure a peaceful and stable Afghanistan, terrorism emanating from the country and the neighbourhood, and also humanitarian assistance for the Afghan people. One of India’s main concerns in Afghanistan has been the continued activities of Pakistan based groups like LeT and JeM.
The meeting, which was envisaged during the first India-Central Asia summit earlier this year, will also explore alternative routes for access to central Asia including through the Chabahar port. India had earlier proposed establishing a Joint Working Group on Chabahar Port to address issues related to free movement of goods and services between India and Central Asian countries.
According to Indian authorities, while the specifics may vary, India and central Asian countries share strong concerns on terrorism. “It may seem that some of these countries have only a passing interest in our concerns related to groups like LeT and JeM but the tactics used by terrorists and the fact that some of Afghan territory has been used as a platform for groups to come together for training and financing are of major concern to all countries,’’ said a source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, adding there are robust channels of communication open with Afghanistan’s central Asian neighbours on intelligence sharing. India is currently working with central Asian and other SCO member-states for preparing a unified list of designated terrorist, separatist and extremist organisations whose activities are prohibited on the territories of the SCO countries.
In Afghanistan, despite repeated claims by the Taliban that it won’t allow use of Afghan territory for launching attacks on other countries, groups like Al Qaeda, ISIS-K, TTP and, as sources here said, LeT and JeM remain active.
“There is considerable terror-related activity still taking place. A lot of it is targeted at Taliban too. Apart from Al Qaeda and others, groups like JeM and LeT continue to maintain bases there,’’ said a source.
The summit earlier this year had seen India and Central Asia reiterating strong support for a peaceful, secure and stable Afghanistan while emphasizing the respect for sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity and non-interference in its internal affairs.
On Afghanistan, India has also been stressing the need for representation of all sections of Afghan society including women and minorities. Doval has emphasised before his counterparts in the region that provision of education to girls and employment to women and youth will ensure productivity and spur growth in Afghanistan.