New Delhi wants Kabul to ensure terror-free atmosphere, given the UN report saying Pakistan-based terror groups maintaining camps from the war-ravaged country.

The Indian delegation may have held interactions and meetings with the Taliban leadership in Kabul, but New Delhi is unlikely to extend recognition to the Taliban regime in Afghanistan anytime soon. The Indian government wants Afghan rulers to create a terror-free atmosphere on priority basis and ensure that their soil is not used for any anti-India activity. Top diplomatic sources told The Daily Guardian Review that a clear message on the threat of terrorism from the various regions in Afghanistan, as evident from the international reports, was given to the Taliban leadership by the Indian delegation that visited Kabul recently.

The meeting between the Indian diplomat J.P. Singh, security officials and Taliban regime’s acting foreign minister Amir Khan Muttaqi acquired significance in the light of the recent UN report saying that Pakistan based terror outfits- Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad—continue to maintain their training camps in Afghanistan. The Indian officials highlighted concern over the same, stressing the need for the Taliban leadership to deal effectively with terrorism. These are some of the outfits that have record of anti-India terror activities.

India is monitoring the security situation in Afghanistan closely before taking any call on resuming its embassy’s operations in Kabul, sources said. However, indications are that Indian mission may be resumed with minimum presence of the staff there. This move is necessary to keep a close watch over the Indian projects there, sources added.

However, Muttaqi insisted that India should restart its embassy as soon as possible. He also assured the Indian envoy that the Taliban government would address every security concern of India. In fact, the Taliban wants India to recognize its government as well. But sources said that India is not going to take any such step for now. When asked about whether the visit and official talks mean India is moving towards recognising the Taliban, MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi asked reporters not to read too much into what is happening.

More Indian delegations will be visiting Afghanistan in future in what is being viewed as New Delhi’s signal to start a formal engagement with the Taliban. Sources say that since India has a huge stake in Afghanistan in terms of big investments in various projects and also in terms of humanitarian assistance, the government in Delhi needs to oversee and monitor the entire thing. “Security concerns make it mandatory for India to keep in touch and coordinate with the Taliban who are the rulers of the country now,” an official told The Daily Guardian Review.

Arindam Bagchi also said, “The visit of the Indian delegation should not be characterized as a diplomatic engagement.” He had also clarified that the visit was about humanitarian assistance. Headed by JP Singh, Joint Secretary at MEA, the delegation consisted of several diplomatic and security officials. The team toured India-funded facilities in Afghanistan. However, the Taliban leadership is seeing this visit of Indian officials, which is first since they took power from the Ghani government, as India giving more legitimacy to the new regime.

Talking to a section of media, Taliban spokesperson Sohail Shaheen said that the matter related to the Indian embassy figured during the talks and the Taliban is willing to give security guarantees for an Indian mission.