Indian National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval discussed the situation in Afghanistan and bilateral security cooperation with his Iranian, Kazakh and Russian counterparts on the sidelines of a regional security meeting on Wednesday.
Doval met Supreme Secretary of Iranian National Security Council Rear Admiral Ali Shamkhani, Chairman of Kazakhstan National Security Committee Karim Massimov and Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev after Delhi Regional Security Dialogue on Afghanistan.
The three bilateral meetings were substantial and there were detailed discussions on Afghanistan and bilateral relations, people familiar with the matter said on condition of anonymity.
Doval and Patrushev discussed future high-level exchanges, defense cooperation and deepening interaction between the national security councils of India and Russia, the people said. It was Patrushev’s second visit to India since the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan in mid-August.
A statement issued by the Russian side said that Doval and Patrushev discussed plans for increased India-Russia security cooperation and referred to “a number of regional issues”. He added: “Special attention has been paid to cooperation on various information security issues.”
During the meeting with Shamkhani, the two sides discussed the situation in Afghanistan, bilateral trade and the current state of Indo-Iranian relations. Iran had hosted the previous two meetings of the regional security dialogue in Afghanistan and Doval and Shamkhani discussed ways to move the process forward.
Discussions between Doval and his Kazakh counterpart focused on Afghanistan and practical steps to improve connectivity and trade routes between the two countries.
NSAs and the heads of the security councils of the seven countries that participated in the Delhi Regional Dialogue on Security in Afghanistan had a “very substantial exchange” during a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. People said Modi shared India’s view on Afghanistan with security officials.
The people also said that the Delhi Regional Security Dialogue exceeded India’s expectations, as foreign security officials easily reached a full consensus which resulted in the release of the Delhi Joint Declaration on the ‘Afghanistan. The statement indicates that the eight countries are committed to combating terrorism emanating from Afghanistan.
Foreign delegations appreciated the opportunity to engage in frank and open discussions on Afghanistan, the people said. As this is the only dialogue at NSA level, there was unanimity on the need to continue this mechanism and to have regular consultations, added the populations.
People also said there was an “extraordinary degree of convergence” in the assessments of the situation in Afghanistan by the eight countries and the main challenges in the war-torn country and the region.
These challenges include the security situation, an increased risk of terrorism and an impending humanitarian crisis. Security officials stressed the need to provide humanitarian assistance and stressed that land and air routes should be available and that no one should hinder the process of providing assistance.