Jaishankar, Iran’s foreign minister Javad Zarif discuss Afghanistan situation

New Delhi

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar spoke to his Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif on Wednesday, focussing on the evolving situation in Afghanistan as well as bilateral issues. The conversation came two weeks after Jaishankar held extensive talks with Zarif and called on Iran’s President-elect Ebrahim Raisi during a stopover at the Iranian capital, Tehran, on his way to Russia.

In a tweet, Jaishankar described the conversation as “productive”, without mentioning the areas of discussion. “Good to talk to Iranian FM @JZarif. A productive conversation on our ties,” he wrote on Twitter.

Iranian media reports said the two foreign ministers discussed the latest developments in Afghanistan. “Foreign ministers of Iran and India discussed the latest developments in Afghanistan in a telephone conversation on Wednesday,” Iran’s IRNA news agency reported. It is learnt Jaishankar and Zarif also deliberated on bilateral issues.

The development of the Chabahar port has been a major highlight of the ties between the two countries.

Help us before it’s too late: Sikhs, Hindus

Sikhs and Hindus in Afghanistan has appealed for help to evacuate them from the war-torn state. Gurnam Singh, president of Gurdwara Kartae Parwan, Kabul, said, "For now, we living in Kabul and are safe but nobody knows for how long. We are scared to even move out."

He said 4 of the 5 gurdwaras in Kabul were closed and Parkash of Sri Guru Granth Sahib was being done only at Gurdwara Kartae Parwan. The remaining Hindus and Sikhs of Afghanistan didn’t want to go to India as there was no financial security. “I lived in India for a few months, my daughter, 14, was infected with virus and died for want of oxy­gen, following which I retur­n­ed to Kabul,” he said, adding, the condition of other Afghani Hindus and Sikhs living in Delhi was not good.

Meanwhile, Manmeet Singh Bhullar Foundation, Khalsa Aid Canada and World Sikh Organisation (WSO) of Canada (WSO) have urged the government of Canada to create a special programme for Afghanistan’s highly vulnerable Sikh and Hindu minorities. —FPJ News Desk

‘Mekong region is of great importance to India’

India is seeking a multi-dimensional engagement with the Mekong region considering its great importance, Jaishankar said on Wednesday. In an address at the 11th Mekong-Ganga Cooperation meeting, Jaishankar called for a “collective and collaborative” response to effectively deal with coronavirus pandemic, saying the virus does not respect national boundaries. The MGC initiative comprising 6 countries — India, Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos and Vietnam — was launched in 2000 to boost cooperation in a range of areas including connectivity, tourism and culture. “For India, the Mekong region is of great importance. India seeks multi-dimensional engagement with the Mekong countries. We need to broaden the base of our partnership by identifying newer areas of cooperation,” Jaishankar said.

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