Jaishankar reiterates India’s ‘strong friendship with the people of Afghanistan’
NEW DELHI — Evacuation of Indians from war-torn Afghanistan was everyone’s concern at the all-party meeting that the government convened here on Thursday. According to a tweet of External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, 37 leaders from 31 parties attended the meeting where he briefed the leaders regarding the unfolding crisis in that country following the takeover by Taliban.
“All parties have similar views, we approached the issue with a spirit of national unity,” the minister said following the meeting, according to a report in The Indian Express.
#WATCH "Govt strongly committed to ensuring full evacuation as soon as possible, doing everything to bring back our people from Afghanistan," says EAM Dr S Jaishankar after briefing all-party panel on the Afghanistan situation pic.twitter.com/GWkMZJUMOz
— ANI (@ANI) August 26, 2021
Echoing the consensus of at the meeting, Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge that the situation was the “entire country’s problem” and “all parties have taken the same view.”
Jaishankar, on his part, reiterated India’s “strong friendship with the people of Afghanistan” by saying that it is “reflected in the more than 500 projects we have there. This friendship will continue to guide us. India’s footprint and activities naturally keep in mind the ongoing changes.”
He, however, stressed that “Our immediate concern and task is evacuation and long-term interest is the friendship for the Afghan people.”
Our strong friendship with the people of Afghanistan is reflected in the more than 500 projects we have there. This friendship will continue to guide us.
India’s footprint and activities naturally keep in mind the ongoing changes.
— Dr. S. Jaishankar (@DrSJaishankar) August 26, 2021
According to PTI, a document shared in the meeting shows that the Indian government has evacuated 175 Embassy personnel, 263 other Indian nationals, 112 Afghan nationals including Hindus and Sikhs, and 15 third country nationals. The total figure stood at 565.
Jaishankar said that most Indians have been evacuated from Afghanistan. “We have brought back most Indians, but not all of them. There are still a few out there… We have also brought out some Afghan citizens, who wanted to come to India. We have tried addressing other issues by instituting an e-visa policy,” he said.
Besides Jaishankar, Union minister and Leader of the House in Rajya Sabha Piyush Goyal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi were also present at the meeting. From the Opposition, NCP leader Sharad Pawar, Kharge of the Congress, Leader of Congress party in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, DMK’s T R Baalu, former prime minister H D Deve Gowda, and Apna Dal’s Anupriya Patel were also in attendance.
Deporting Afghan woman MP was a ‘mistake’
Kharge said at the meeting he raised the issue of the Afghan parliamentarian who was deported from Delhi airport on Wednesday. “They said that they made a mistake, it won’t be repeated and they will look into the matter,” the Congress leader was quoted as saying by ANI.
#WATCH | "We raised the issue of a female (Afghan) diplomat who was deported. They said that they made a mistake, it won't be repeated & they will look into the matter," says Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge after the all-party briefing by EAM Jaishankar on Afghanistan pic.twitter.com/5rXQHYCVhD
— ANI (@ANI) August 26, 2021