New Delhi: India on Friday said the question of recognition of a new government in Afghanistan was tantamount to “jumping the gun” as there is “no clarity” on what sort of government will be formed there and whether it will be “inclusive” and comprise “other elements of the Afghan polity” besides the Taliban, hinting that New Delhi is in “wait and watch” mode.
At his weekly briefing, external affairs ministry spokesman Arindam Bagchi also said the “vast majority” of Indians who were in Afghanistan had already been brought to India on a total of six evacuation flights but a group of 20 Indian nationals and many Afghan Sikhs and Hindus could not make it to the airport in time on Wednesday to catch an Indian evacuation flight from Kabul to Delhi. He also said “some more (Indians) are likely to be in Afghanistan”. New Delhi added that six-month visas were being given to Afghans reaching India, hinting it would take a call on what to do thereafter.
The MEA spokesman also described as “unfortunate” the deportation of Afghan woman MP Rangina Kargar from New Delhi after she had flown in from Istanbul on August 20, saying it happened due to “confusion” after a “high alert” was declared by the Indian authorities following the reported “raiding” of an outsourcing agency of the Indian embassy in Kabul that led to the theft of Afghan passports with Indian visas. New Delhi had recently said Afghan nationals would be able to travel to India only on e-visas now after that incident in Kabul as New Delhi obviously feared the theft of Afghan passports with Indian visas could be a security threat. After the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan, India had shut down its embassy in Kabul and evacuated all Indian diplomats from there.
On whether India would recognise a new government in Kabul after the Taliban takeover and deposing of the erstwhile Afghan government of President Ashraf Ghani, Mr Bagchi said: “There is no clarity about any entity forming the government in Kabul”. He said while the government was aware of the “ground realities” in Afghanistan, it remained to be seen if the new government would be inclusive and have other (non-Taliban) elements of the Afghan polity, adding that peace talks were also reportedly going on (between the Taliban and forces opposed to them from the Panjshir Valley in northern Afghanistan). He said the issue of any recognition would therefore be “jumping the gun”. The comments show that India has so far not rejected outright any new government in Kabul but would prefer to see whether non-Taliban forces also gain representation in the new government formed by the Taliban.
Asked about India’s evacuation efforts, the MEA spokesman said the focus was on Indian nationals but Afghan Sikhs and Hindus wishing to travel to India and other Afghans who had worked with India in development assistance programmes had also been evacuated. “A vast majority of Indians who wish to return have been evacuated,” Mr Bagchi said.
On the recent security scare over the theft of Afghan passports in Kabul, the MEA spokesman said: “There were reports of (a) group of people who raided one of our outsourcing agencies”, adding Indian authorities had put out a “high alert” due to the “loss of Afghan passports”. This, he said, had caused the confusion that led to the “unfortunate” incident of denial of entry into India for Afghan lady MP Rangina Kargar. According to reports, Ms Kargar, who flew in from Istanbul, was deported after a wait of several hours at Delhi airport on August 20 on a flight back to Istanbul via Dubai. Ms Kargar later told the media in Istanbul that a senior MEA official had apologised to her for the incident and had asked her to apply for an emergency e-visa.