India intensifies engagement on Afghanistan at 67th UNGA

     Preparing for a scenario after the 2014 draw down of foreign forces from Afghanistan, India has intensified its engagement with regional and international stakeholders on the sidelines of the 67th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) session. India has been extremely active on the sidelines of various meetings related to Afghanistan , participating in five formal and informal interactions involving Afghanistan , where Indian officials have been major participants during the course of the week. On September 24, states involved in the Istanbul Process on Regional Security and Cooperation for a secure and stable Afghanistan , reviewed the current status of the seven action points that were agreed upon. India , which has been entrusted with the responsibility regarding cooperation amongst Chambers of Commerce, was amongst those who provided updates of action taken in areas they were responsible for. A follow up meeting is expected to take place in October to review progress of the commonly agreed action points. According to sources, the Council on Foreign Relations, a leading American think tank, arranged a closed door interaction in New York for its members on " Afghanistan in Transition". Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister Jawed Ludin and Y.K. Sinha, Joint Secretary in charge of the Pakistan , Afghanistan and Iran Division in the Ministry of External Affairs shared perceptions of how they perceived the evolving situation with intellectuals, strategists, journalists and analysts who are eagerly following the Af-Pak situation . The first trilateral meeting of US-India and Afghanistan was also convened by Ludin. Ambassador Marc Grossman, participated on behalf of the United States . On behalf of India , Sinha and Jawed Ashraf , Joint Secretary( Americas ) participated. Sources told ANI that there was a free flowing and frank discussion on all aspects of the situation in Afghanistan . This was the first consultations amongst the three Governments who share common interests in the region and have pledged to work together on common challenges and opportunities, including combating terrorism and violent extremism and increasing regional trade and investment. The trilateral dialogue was agreed to during the India-U.S. Strategic Dialogue in Washington in June. India and USA both have strategic partnerships with Afghanistan . In another development, India 's Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai had a detailed discussion with Ambassador Marc Grossman, the U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan in a bilateral format. Afghanistan convened a meeting of the P5 and other important stakeholders who are members of the Security Council to brief them about the Afghan situation. According to sources " this meeting, to which India was invited, provided yet another opportunity for senior Indian officials, including Foreign Secretary Mathai, to ascertain the views of the other key actors about the situation in Afghanistan and to share perceptions of how they could cooperate in facing the challenges ahead. In essence, away from the spotlight, India has been determinedly pursuing its objectives in areas of vital strategic interests.

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