External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Saturday participated in the inaugural session of the intra-Afghan negotiations held in Doha via video conferencing. EAM’s participation was in response to an invitation extended to him by Qatar's Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Mohammad bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani.
In his address, EAM referred to the millennia old relationship between India and Afghanistan, which he said had withstood the test of time. EAM highlighted India’s role as a major development partner of Afghanistan with over 400 projects completed in all the 34 provinces of Afghanistan, according to a statement issued by the Ministry of External Affairs.
EAM conveyed that India’s policy on Afghanistan had been consistent.
He reiterated India's stand that any peace process must be Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled, has to respect the national sovereignty and territorial integrity of Afghanistan and preserve the progress made in the establishment of a democratic Islamic Republic in Afghanistan.
"The interests of minorities, women and vulnerable sections of society must be preserved and the issue of violence across the country and its neighbourhood has to be effectively addressed," he said.
EAM wished for the success of the intra-Afghan negotiations in delivering to the people of Afghanistan what they have longed for - a peaceful and prosperous future in an independent and sovereign nation.
A senior official delegation led by JP Singh, Joint Secretary (PAI) in the Ministry of External Affairs participated in the inaugural ceremony in Doha.
The talks were set to take place in March but have repeatedly been delayed over a prisoner exchange agreement made as part of the US-Taliban deal signed in February this year.
On the sidelines of the ongoing peace talks, Suhail Shaheen, the spokesman for the Taliban's political office, said lasting ceasefire in Afghanistan will be reached once the government system in the country becomes 'Islamic'.
"The Islamic Emirate wants the system of government to become Islamic. When this is done, a ceasefire will be reached on that day," Sputnik quoted Shaheen as saying.