No progress on issues flagged in UNSC resolution: Jaishankar on Afghanistan
New Delhi: The international community’s apprehension about the use of Afghan soil for terrorist activities is still very much a “live concern” as there is no credible information to suggest an improvement in the situation, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has said.
Jaishankar also said that not much progress was seen on the issues and concerns flagged in a United Nations Security Council resolution adopted during India’s presidency of the global body in August last.
In an interactive session at a think-tank in Paris on Tuesday, Jaishankar also rejected speculation about the possibility of a coalition among Russia, China, Pakistan and Iran on the lines of Quad, saying “four corners do not necessarily make a geometry”.
He was asked about Russia’s recent diplomatic engagement with Pakistan, Iran’s relations with China and Russia as well the recent summit talks between the Russian and Chinese presidents.
Jaishankar said it took a lot of systemic interaction and commitments at the level of leadership of the Quad member countries to give shape to the coalition, noting that aggregating interactions does not automatically lead to a geometry. “It takes something more.”
On the situation in Myanmar following last year’s military coup, Jaishankar said India has been consistent in its support to the democratic forces in that country.
“We still believe that it is unavoidable to engage the regime currently on matters which are necessary for our interests and our well-being, and in a sense to their well-being as well where humanitarian demands are concerned,” he said.
To a question on the situation in Afghanistan, Jaishankar said the international community and not just India has concerns over the presence of foreign fighters and terrorist organisations in that country.
“I think a lot countries are looking very carefully at what is happening in Afghanistan to see whether after the Taliban has started ruling, whether there was any change,” he said.
“The jury is still out in terms of whether there is any change or not. I do not think anybody has credibly advanced any information to suggest that there is an improvement. The concern per se about Afghan soil being used (for terrorist activities), I think is still a very live concern,” he said.
To a question on whether the international community is faced with a dilemma in helping Afghan people without appearing to be supportive of the Taliban, Jaishankar described it as a very complicated issue.
“These are really dilemmas of international relations where it is not easy to make those tough choices. Do you allow your discomfort or antipathy to an outfit like Taliban to get in your way of offering support to people who are suffering very very deeply,” he said.
He, however, said that ways must be found to help the Afghan people.
“The bottom line is that we have to devise a strategy to help the people and find ways of figuring out what we do with the regime,” he said.
In this context, Jaishankar said that many of the countries which urge “pragmatism and realism” in Afghanistan have a very different view of Myanmar.
In many cases, he added that the concerns about Afghanistan is driven by fear of refugees coming from Afghanistan to Europe.
“We should find ways of helping Afghan people. We have to do that in a way in which we are comfortable with our own assessment of the Taliban and the regime out there,” he said.
Jaishankar also referred to the UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 2593 on Afghanistan.
The UNSC resolution, adopted on August 30 under India’s presidency of the global body, talked about the need for upholding human rights in Afghanistan, demanded that Afghan territory not be used for terrorism and that a negotiated political settlement be found out to the crisis.
“It captured the broad thinking of the international community. We have not seen much progress on it in the last few months. But, do we then say because we did not get progress we just leave that country alone, I do not think we can do that,” he said.
The external affairs minister said India has provided medicines to the main hospital in Kabul, and, in that sense, it is dealing with the hospital and not with the regime there.