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India vigilant of Afghan situation: Centre

New Delhi, August 4 (UNI): India is vigilant of the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan and hopes for settlement of the conflict through political dialogue, the External Affairs Ministry informed the Lok Sabha on Wednesday.

In a written reply, Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan said the security situation in Afghanistan has deteriorated in the recent past.

“In view of this, the government remains vigilant and is taking all necessary measures to ensure the safety and security of Indian nationals and ongoing projects. The Embassy of India in Kabul continues to function normally and is providing regular services, including consular and visa,” he said.

As a security measure in July 2021, India-based personnel from the consulate of India in Kandahar were temporarily withdrawn.

“However, the Consulate continues to operate visa and consular services through its local staff. Our Mission in Kabul also continues to extend necessary assistance to Indian nationals in Afghanistan. Security advisories for Indian nationals are issued regularly,” he said.

In reply to another question, the minister said the government is in contact with various stakeholders within and outside Afghanistan, including regional and international partners on the situation in Afghanistan.

India was among the countries that participated in the meeting of SCO Contact Group on Afghanistan.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar visited Dushanbe in Tajikistan on July 13-14 to participate in the meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Council of Foreign Ministers.

He also participated in the meeting of the SCO Contact Group on Afghanistan on July 14, 2021.

The Foreign Ministers of Afghanistan, China, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan also took part in the meeting.

“At this meeting, EAM reiterated our support for a stable, sovereign, peaceful and democratic Afghanistan. India’s priorities were outlined as cessation of all violence and terrorist attacks,” Muraleedharan said.

“The importance of settlement of the conflict through political dialogue and respect for interests of all ethnic groups, women and children was also emphasised,” he said.

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