Two earlier meetings in 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.
There has been an overwhelming response to India’s invitation. Central Asian countries as well as Russia and Iran have confirmed participation. It is the first time that all Central Asian countries, not just Afghanistan’s immediate land neighbours, are participating in this format. The enthusiastic response is a manifestation of the importance attached to India’s role in regional efforts to promote peace and security in Afghanistan.
Invitations have been extended to China and Pakistan too, and formal responses are awaited. However, Pakistan has indicated through the media that it will not attend.
The high-level participation in next week’s meeting hosted by India reflects the widespread and growing concern of regional countries about the situation in Afghanistan and their desire to consult and coordinate with each other. India has an important role to play in this process.
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