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Taliban: Do not allow cross-border terror from Afghan soil, say India & EU

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External affairs minister S Jaishankar and foreign ministers of the European Union on Friday discussed the Afghan crisis, including the need to disallow the Afghan territory to be used for cross-border terror and preventing it from becoming a safe haven for terrorists.

Both sides decided to judge the behaviour of the Taliban regime and engage according to the commitment of the new Afghan government to not let the country serve as a base for export of terrorism, people aware of the matter said.

At a closed door luncheon meeting, the Indian minister is understood to have briefed the EU ministers on New Delhi’s first-ever formal talks with the Taliban leadership in Doha earlier this week. The issue of evacuation and the need for representation of all ethnic communities in the new government was also emphasised.

Jaishankar is also understood to have referred India’s efforts on Afghanistan at the UNSC as a non-permanent member.

The ministers at the meeting are said to have concentrated on how to deal with the new situation and how to deal with the new government in Afghanistan under Taliban rule, including the scope of engagement. Both India and the EU have not rushed into recognising the Taliban government.

The meeting noted that the future of Afghanistan remains a key issue for all sides and it has a direct impact on the security of both India and the EU.

The EU ministers said their region remains committed to supporting the Afghan population. The issue of respect for human rights, especially rights of women, the rule of law, and freedom of the media was also discussed.

The EU ministers informed the Indian side that the European External Action Service will initiate a regional political platform of cooperation with Afghanistan’s neighbours.

Jaishankar also briefed the gathering on India’s Indo-Pacific construct which focusses on rules-based international order and discourages s unilateralism. This month, the EU is expected to firm up its Indo-Pacific strategy.

Jaishankar separately called on the Prime Minister of Slovenia, Janez Jansa, and discussed bilateral ties, global issues, including Europe’s challenges, the Indo-Pacific region, and the Afghanistan situation. On Thursday, he had a panel discussion with his Slovenian counterpart, Anze Logar, at the Bled Strategic Forum (BSF) on ”Partnership for a Rules-Based Order in the Indo-Pacific”.

There is now sharper awareness in Europe that what happens in the Indo-Pacific impinges directly on its interests, Jaishankar said, adding that India-EU relations have emerged stronger as the world battles a pandemic, and that issues of trust and transparency, reliable and resilient supply chains have created common ground.

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