The talks were comprehensive, covering various aspects of the humanitarian and socio-economic challenges faced by Afghanistan
In a significant diplomatic move, India and Russia held bilateral consultations on Afghanistan in New Delhi on Wednesday (May 15, 2024). The consultations focused on the current situation in Afghanistan, emphasizing the need for development assistance to aid the Afghan people.

The discussions were led by Zamir Kabulov, Russia’s Special Presidential Envoy for Afghanistan, and J.P. Singh, Joint Secretary (Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran Division) in India’s Ministry of External Affairs. 

The talks were comprehensive, covering various aspects of the humanitarian and socio-economic challenges faced by Afghanistan. Both sides reiterated their commitment to supporting the Afghan people amidst the ongoing crisis.

"India and Russia held bilateral consultations on Afghanistan today in New Delhi. 

Amb. Zamir Kabulov, Special Presidential Envoy for Afghanistan and J.P. Singh, Joint Secretary (PAI) discussed the current situation in Afghanistan and emphasized on the need to provide development assistance for the welfare of the Afghan people," the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said on X, formerly Twitter. 

Focus on Development Assistance

The Russian Embassy in India also posted about the meeting on X. “On May 15, in #NewDelhi Zamir Kabulov, Special Presidential Envoy for Afghanistan & Director of @mfa_russia Second Asian Department, held inter-MFA consultations on #Afghanistan with J.P. Singh, JS for Pakistan, Afghanistan & Iran, #India’s MEA,” the embassy posted.

The statement emphasized the mutual agreement on the necessity of providing substantial development assistance. This assistance aims to address the immediate needs of the Afghan population, which has been severely affected by recent floods and ongoing political instability. The Russian and Indian officials highlighted the dire situation and the urgency of international aid to mitigate the suffering of the Afghan people.

Humanitarian Crisis in Afghanistan

The situation in Afghanistan remains critical since the Taliban took control on August 15, 2021, following the withdrawal of US and NATO forces. 

The humanitarian crisis has been exacerbated by natural disasters, including devastating flash floods that have recently struck the country. Reports from Kabul indicate that the floods have resulted in at least 250 deaths and the destruction of over 3,300 homes. Relief efforts are currently underway in 18 districts across Baghlan, Takhar, and Badakhshan provinces, supported by international organizations such as the UNHCR and the International Organisation for Migration.

India has been a major provider of humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan. Since the Taliban takeover, India has maintained a technical mission in Afghanistan focused on humanitarian aid and development projects. Approximately 25,000 Afghans currently reside in India.

India’s approach has consistently advocated for “an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned, and Afghan-controlled” process for achieving lasting peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan. This principle was reiterated during the consultations with Russia, underscoring India’s long-term vision for a stable and prosperous Afghanistan.

The timing of the bilateral consultations is noteworthy. They come in the wake of the Chabahar port agreement signed between India and Iran, which aims to enhance regional connectivity and economic cooperation. 

The bilateral consultations between India and Russia on Afghanistan underscore the deepening cooperation between the two countries in addressing regional security and humanitarian challenges. As Afghanistan continues to navigate through its multifaceted crisis, the commitment of nations like India and Russia to provide development assistance and humanitarian aid is crucial for the welfare of the Afghan people. The outcomes of these discussions are expected to pave the way for more coordinated and effective international support for Afghanistan in the coming months.