India and US Are United in Their Approach to Afghanistan: US Dy Secy of State

US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and India's Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla
US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and India’s Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla

US Deputy Secretary of State, Wendy Sherman, stated on Wednesday that India, the US, and a group of “like-minded countries” conduct a video conference call every week where they discuss ideas and viewpoints on how to handle the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Defining the shared redlines — an inclusive government, the rights of minorities, women, and children, and no safe haven for terrorists — Sherman, a strong negotiator, said: “We think the Taliban must act, not simply talk words.” None of us are looking for recognition, let alone legitimacy. We need to see results, not just rhetoric.

Sherman, who met with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, and Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla on Wednesday, stated that India’s “security is first and foremost” in the United States’ concerns and would always remain “front and center.” The counter-terrorism dialogue between India and the United States will take place on October 26 and 28.

They discussed issues of regional interest, especially the evolving situation in Afghanistan, as well as developments at the UN. Reiterated commitment for a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region, including through continued cooperation under the Quad.

— Arindam Bagchi (@MEAIndia) October 6, 2021

This was Sherman’s first trip to India in her current role. Sherman served as the Obama administration’s Under Secretary for Political Affairs (equivalent to Foreign Secretary) and was the primary US negotiator on the P-5+1 deal with Iran (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action – JCPOA).

In response to a query from a journalist, Sherman stated, “The US and India are definitely of one mind and one policy when it comes to Afghanistan.” And India, as a partner, has been part of a group of many like-minded countries that has been part of a video teleconference every other day, and now every week, where like-minded nations share ideas and perspectives on how to approach the Taliban in Afghanistan throughout the evacuation out of Afghanistan and now on an ongoing basis.”

And, yes, we must see results. But I don’t think any of us are in a hurry for recognition, let alone legitimacy. “We need to see deeds, not just words,” she explained.

Sherman stated that they favor humanitarian help provided by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) or the United Nations (UN). “However, we do not feel that the moment has come to send money directly to the Taliban,” she added.

When asked about the India-Russia S-400 contract, she stated that “it’s hazardous” and “not in anyone’s security.” “We have a solid cooperation,” she added, adding that talks between India and the US are ongoing on the subject. In terms of the United States’ involvement with China, she stated that the US policy is to “compete, challenge, and collaborate.”

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