National Security Advisor Ajit Doval is heading the Delhi Regional Security Dialogue meeting to discuss security issues surrounding the nation of Afghanistan, after the fall of the US-backed government in September saw the rise of the Taliban insurgent government. It is the first time that such a coalition of Central Asian nations - including Iran, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkemenistan and Tajikistan - are convening in this manner.
In his opening remarks to the assembly, NSA Doval said that the meeting would have 'important implications' not just for Afghanistan but also neighbouring countries. New Delhi was keeping 'close watch' on the country and also increased reports of terrorism, drug trafficking and regional instability that have cropped up in the wake of the Taliban's ascent to power, he said.
"This is a time for close consultations amongst us... I am confident that our deliberations will be productive, useful and will contribute to help the people in Afghanistan and enhance our collective security," he added.
Pakistani and Chinese security heads were also invited to the 8 nation summit but both declined the invitation, with Pakistan's National Security Advisor Moeed Yusuf defending his decision not to attend as a 'protest' against India.
"I will not go, a spoiler can't be a peacemaker," Yusuf said at a press conference in Islamabad, shortly after meeting wih the Uzbekistan NSA. "I think the region's obstacles are in front of you, there is no need for a debate on this. On the one hand is India… unfortunately (because of) the government's behaviour and ideology there, I don't see how this (peace) process will move forward — not just for Pakistan but the region."
Two earlier meetings under this format have been held in Iran, in September 2018 and December 2019. The third meeting in India could not be held earlier due to the Covid-19 pandemic.