The presence of India at the Moscow meeting, albeit on an unofficial level, will probably raise an eyebrow, as India will share a platform with the Taliban for the first time. India will be represented by retired diplomats TCA Raghavan and Amar Sinha.
According to official sources, the decision of India was well thought out and in line with the "comfort level" of the Afghan government. "We are aware that the Russian Federation is hosting a meeting in Moscow on November 9th in Afghanistan," said Mea spokesman Raveesh Kumar. "India supports all efforts for peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan that will preserve unity and pluralism, and will bring security, stability and prosperity to the country. India has consistently determined that these efforts they should be led by Afghanistan, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled and with the participation of the Government of Afghanistan, our participation will be at an unofficial level, "he added.
Sources said Amar Sinha, former MEA secretary who also served as India's ambassador to Afghanistan, and TCA Raghavan, former high Indian commissioner in Pakistan, will represent New Delhi at the Moscow talks.
According to the Sputnik news agency, Russia has sent invitations for the so-called "Moscow format" with Afghanistan, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, China, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, United States and Afghan Taliban.
The first meeting on the format of Moscow saw India represented at the level of joint secretary, but in the meeting there were no Taliban. "For the first time, a delegation from the Taliban Movement's Political Bureau in Doha will take part in an international meeting at this level," a press release issued by Moscow said. While the Afghan government does not take part directly in the meeting, a delegation from the High Peace Council is expected to attend. The Russian embassy said in a reaction that welcomed India and the participation of other countries and that greatly appreciated the support of India to peace processes.