Wed, 19 Jan 2022

New Delhi [India], November 8 (ANI): China has said it will not attend the regional security dialogue on Afghanistan being hosted by India on November 10 due to a "scheduling issue", sources said.

They said China has replied to India's invitation and said it will be unable to attend due to "scheduling issue".

The sources said China has conveyed that it is open for dialogue with India on Afghanistan multilaterally and bilaterally.

The Delhi Regional Security Dialogue on Afghanistan will be held at the national security advisor (NSA) level and will be chaired by NSA Ajit Doval.

Pakistan, an all-weather ally of China, had earlier declined the invitation to the dialogue.

Sources had earlier said that Pakistan's decision is unfortunate, but not surprising and reflects its mindset of viewing Afghanistan as its protectorate.

NSAs of Iran, Russia, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan have confirmed their participation in the dialogue.

On non-participation of Afghanistan in dialogue, the sources said that none of the eight countries recognises or legitimises the Taliban government. India also does not recognise so it has not invited Afghanistan, they added.

Earlier Iran hosted meetings in a similar format in 2018 and 2019. Pakistan had not attended any of them but China did participate.

The sources said as a matter of practice, India invited Pakistan to Delhi meet, "but it's unfortunate they refuse to attend".

Participating NSAs will also jointly call on Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Ahead of the Afghan dialogue Ajit Doval will on Tuesday hold bilateral talks with his counterparts Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. (ANI)

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