Can’t be out of bandwagon: Gen Rawat on talks with Taliban

Indian Army Chief Gen Bipin Rawat on Thursday said if India has interest in Afghanistan then it should be the part of bandwagon of those countries talking with the Taliban.

Addressing the annual press conference ahead of Army Day on January 15, Gen Rawat said, “Now, if a number of other countries are talking to the group. Do we have an interest in Afghanistan.. is the first issue. Does India have interest in Afghanistan? If the answer is, yes. Then you cannot be out of the bandwagon.  … Should we in some way be a part of the talks? We should not be left out.”

New Delhi’s policy has always been “no engagement with the Taliban”. Countries including the US, Russia, Iran and Pakistan have been talking with the Taliban.

“In some of areas developments have happened. There is people’s voice emerging that we want peace. Therefore, what has been decided by some of the countries that lets start talking with Taliban and see that they can also be brought in the system of governance and can there be lasting peace,” he added.

On being asked about Jammu and Kashmir, he said, “There can be no third party intervention in Kashmir.”

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