ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s foreign office has said Islamabad had received an invitation from India to attend a national security advisers’ meeting on Afghanistan in New Delhi next month but had not yet taken a decision on whether it would participate.
India’s invite to Pakistani National Security Adviser Dr. Moeed Yusuf comes at a time of high tensions between the nuclear-armed neighbors and longtime foes.
If the talks go ahead, it would be the first meeting on Afghanistan to be convened by India since the Taliban captured power in August. Pakistan, China, Iran, Russia, and Tajikistan have reportedly also been asked to attend the discussions planned for Nov. 10 to 11.
On Monday, Pakistani foreign office spokesperson, Asim Iftikhar, said: “There is the invitation. There is no decision yet.”
Pakistan and India have a longstanding dispute over the Himalayan region of Kashmir, which they both rule in part but claim in full. They have fought two wars over the region.
India was a key supporter of the ousted regime in Kabul and as both Pakistan and China become key players in a Taliban-ruled Afghanistan, its nervousness has increased, analysts say.
India has bitter memories of the previous Taliban stint in power from 1996 to 2001 and the group’s links to Pakistan.
An Indian Airlines plane was hijacked in 1999 and ultimately landed in Kandahar in southern Afghanistan. New Delhi freed three senior Pakistani militants in its jails in exchange for the return of the passengers and the Taliban allowed the hijackers and the released prisoners to go to Pakistan.
But over the past year, as the Taliban emerged as a dominant force in Afghanistan and US-brokered negotiations began in Doha, Indian diplomats had opened a line with the group.
But Pakistan has long insisted India has no role in Afghanistan, with which it does not share a border, and has consistently accused India of using Afghan soil to mastermind militant attacks inside Pakistan — an accusation New Delhi has denied.