India is among six nations participating in a conference on Afghanistan’s future in Moscow, two months after Russia hosted a similar conference with only China and Pakistan.
After India and particularly Afghanistan objected to being cut out of the discussion, Moscow agreed to expand its ambit, announcing a six-nation conference of Russia, India, Iran, Pakistan, China and Afghanistan.
India and Russia have seen not so smooth relations among each other in past few months.
1. India is increasingly uncomfortable with Russia’s overtures to Pakistan on defence issues. Significantly, Russia did not join the U.S., U.K. and France in sponsoring a resolution against Jaish chief Masood Azhar at the U.N. sanctions committee last month, a resolution which China then put a hold on.
2. Russia has been seen as favouring a softer line on the Taliban as a counter to the spread of Islamic State (IS) in Afghanistan. Russia and China have also been coordinating to demand the delisting of senior Taliban leaders designated as terrorists by the U.N. sanctions committee.