New Delhi: The just-ended Moscow peace conference on Friday on Afghanistan is seen to have led to a further convergence in the positions of host Russia and Pakistan, which will be much to India’s discomfiture.
India had participated in a “non-official” capacity through two distinguished retired diplomats — ex-ambassador to Afghanistan Amar Sinha and former high commissioner to Pakistan T.C.A. Raghavan.
The conference was also attended by the Taliban, of which Pakistan is widely seen as the main backer. The failure of the US and the Afghan government backed by it to defeat the Taliban has ensured that Pakistan continues to play a role in the Afghan peace process. New Delhi is also worried that the Afghan conflict has been caught up in the tensions between Russia and the US. The US is a powerful backer of the Afghan government while Russia is feeling left out and is seen to have gone soft on the Taliban and Pakistan.
Sources had told this newspaper that New Delhi’s non-official participation was because Afghanistan too was participating at a non-official level. Kabul is said to be miffed over some of the aspects of the conference and given India’s close relations with Kabul, New Delhi took the cue from Kabul. At the same time, India had not been able to ignore the conference since it has a had a decades-long time-tested friendship with host Russia.