PM Modi with NSA Ajit Doval (representative image)
PC : @KiranKS/Twitter

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has constituted a high-level group, comprising External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and senior officials, in view of the “evolving situation in Afghanistan” to focus on the “immediate priorities of India”.

India’s main priority is to ensure safe evacuation of those Indian nationals who are still left in Afghanistan, which is now completely under the Taliban with the last of the US forces having withdrawn on the night of August 30.

India and Afghanistan have been very close partners for the past two decades, with huge investments in infrastructure and also manpower.

“This panel has been meeting regularly over the last few days. It is seized of issues pertaining to the safe return of stranded Indians, the travel of Afghan nationals (especially minorities) to India, and assuring that the territory of Afghanistan is not used in any manner for terrorism directed against India,” sources said.

Apart from the safe return of Indians and Afghans who wish to leave the country, New Delhi’s priority is to ensure that Afghan soil is not used against India in the future.

While the government is waiting and watching the developments unfold in Kabul, it is also “monitoring” international reactions, including the resolution passed on Tuesday by the UN Security Council.

According to sources, India has been in touch over the last few days with key members of the UNSC on this matter. This issue was the subject of Jaishankar’s phone conversation with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and high-level officials of other members.

The UN Security Council, under India’s presidency, passed Resolution 2593 demanding that the territory of Afghanistan not be used to threaten any country or shelter terrorists.

UNSC Resolution 2593 addresses India’s key concerns pertaining to Afghanistan at this time. Therefore, India played an active role in ensuring its passage.

“As the President of the UNSC, India felt it important that given the seriousness of the situation, there should be a Security Council Resolution,” said sources.

The Resolution demands that Afghan territory not be used to threaten/attack any country or to shelter/ train terrorists or plan/finance terrorist acts. It specifically mentions individuals and entities designated pursuant to UNSC Resolution 1267, i.e., Lashker-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed, etc.

The resolution — drafted by the United States, Britain and France — was passed with 13 votes in favour while China and Russia abstained.

The resolution said it expected the Taliban would adhere to commitments made by it regarding the safe and orderly departure from the country of Afghans and all foreign nationals.

“This will cover Indian nationals stranded in the country as well as Afghan nationals (including minorities) who wish to travel to India,” sources said.