China backs India stand on Taliban’s role after US exit

Shubhajit Roy : New Delhi, Thu Apr 25 2013, 03:47 hrs
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Concerned about the adverse impact on its economic activity in Afghanistan, China has told India terrorism poses a threat to all regional countries, and that it is ready to consult with Delhi as the deadline of US-led coalition’s troop withdrawal in 2014 comes closer.
Beijing has also backed the Indian position on the Taliban reconciliation process by insisting on the “redlines”, which have been seemingly blurred by some western interlocutors in recent negotiations. India has been firm on the “redlines” — that the peace process should be Afghan-led and Afghan-owned, Talibans who want to be re-integrated should follow the Afghan constitution and give up violence. China has also voiced the same opinion.
This was conveyed to Indian interlocutors at the India-China talks on Afghanistan on April 18, when for the first time Beijing discussed with India the threat of terrorism from Afghanistan. According to New Delhi, the origins of terrorism in Afghanistan are from the Af-Pak border. However, China has been careful not to mention Pakistan in this regard as it is widely touted as its “all-weather friend”.
Chinese concerns on terrorism stem not only from the perceived threat in Afghanistan, but also from the possibility of a Taliban or a pro-Taliban-ruled Afghanistan after the US troops’ pullout has affected the security situation in its Muslim-dominated Xinjiang autonomous region.
This was the first time that interlocutors from both countries talked about the Afghan situation. However, what has come as a surprise to many is that the Chinese are willing to sustain the conversation. Both the sides have decided to carry forward the discussion in the later part of 2013.
While the Indian side was led by Y K Sinha, Additional Secretary in the Foreign Ministry’s Pakistan-Afghanistan-Iran division, the Chinese side was represented by Luo Zhaohui, Director-General of the Asian division of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. New Delhi views the talks on Afghanistan as a “useful opportunity” and a “very good beginning”. However, it is also cautious on the future course since the Sino-Pakistan relations has so far guided the Chinese policy on Afghanistan.


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