South Asia and Beyond

“India-Taliban Relations Likely To Be Transactional; But We Should Work With Opposition Too”

NEW DELHI: Ambassador Gautam Mukhopadhaya, India’s Former Envoy to Afghanistan in conversation with StratNews Global Associate Editor Amitabh P. Revi.

The former Envoy discusses India’s first publicly announced Kabul meetings with the Taliban since it re-took Afghanistan on August 15th last year. “It was a matter of time before some level of official engagement took place,” he says, adding, “it is significant, but not only because India is the last major country to have held this kind of official engagement”, but because of its “own kind of ripple effects.” Ambassador Mukhopadhaya says while “we are sending humanitarian supplies. We would like to see that it reaches all categories of people. The most important thing is that we would like to maintain our relationship with the Afghan people, who would be feeling abandoned at this point.”

Watch this interview for more on the important symbolic message of sending a woman diplomat on the team to Kabul, how “India has a strong hand that shouldn’t be underestimated”, the Afghan opposition, diaspora and people who can’t leave, dealing with officials on UN terrorist and sanctions lists, what the change in government in Pakistan means, possible U.S. game-plans after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the U.S. Special Representative’s visit to India, the NSA-level security dialogue in Pakistan and what India’s next steps should be.

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