Jury Still Out’: At USISPF, Jaishankar Addresses ‘Security Concerns’ Emerging From Afghanistan

Jury Still Out

The Indo-Pacific is an important region and should be based on a rules-based international order and respecting territorial integrity, he said.

Addressing the annual summit of the US India Strategic and Partnership Forum (USISPF), External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said that the current political situation in Afghanistan is concerning for India and that the Indian government is still studying the effects it sees emerging from the Taliban takeover in the Indo-Pacific region.

“Afghanistan presents issues for the region. The Indo-Pacific is an important region and should be based on a rules-based international order and respecting territorial integrity,” Jaishankar said at the fourth Annual Leadership Summit of USISPF which began on September 29 and will go on till October 1.

“In the past, we haven’t worked together in South Asia, but that’s changing given the changing dynamics of the Indo-Pacific. The Quad platform is important on that front, and now Afghanistan too given the security factor.

“Whatever were the peace deals struck in Doha, we weren’t taken into confidence for that. The jury is still out on how this new regime governs Afghanistan. Are we concerned, yes, but we have to take time and study this,” he added.

Afghanistan was also top agenda when Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with his counterparts from Australia and Japan last week attended the first in-person summit of Quad leaders hosted by US President Joe Biden. He had said that he firmly believed that the grouping of four democracies would act as a “force for global good” and ensure peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific as well as the entire world. In November 2017, India, Japan, the US and Australia gave shape to the long-pending proposal of setting up the Quad to develop a new strategy to keep the critical sea routes in the Indo-Pacific free of any influence, amidst China’s growing military presence in the strategic region.

Apart from Jaishankar, American political leaders, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer are also among the speakers who are addressing the annual summit.

USISPF, which is a non-profit organisation committed to creating a powerful strategic partnership between the US and India, said that other Cabinet Ministers who have confirmed to address the meeting include Minister of Textiles, Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal, Civil Aviation Minister, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Sports Minister Anurag Thakur and IT Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar. George R. Oliver, chairman and CEO of Johnson Control; Ajay Singh, chairman and managing director of SpiceJet; Nik Deogun, CEO of the Americas and US Senior Partner of Brunswick Group; Nelson Cunningham, president and co-founder, McLarty Associates; are among other speakers from the corporate sector.

Several top Indian bureaucrats are also scheduled to speak at the summit. Prominent among them being Prof. VK Paul, member, NITI Aayog, Dr Randeep Guleria, Director of All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Rita Teaotia, chairperson, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India, Dr Renu Swarup, Secretary, DBT, and S. Aparna, Secretary, Department of Pharmaceuticals, Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers.

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