03:09 GMT +322 January 2020
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    Though India and Russia have had divergent views in the past on the Afghan peace effort, especially on Pakistan’s involvement, recent developments suggest both countries are keen to collaborate.

    New Delhi (Sputnik) — In what is being seen as a strong indication that India and Russia are once again converging on the international peace-building efforts in war-torn Afghanistan, Russian special envoy to Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov is soon visiting India, External Affairs Ministry sources claimed.

    The top brass of the Indian establishment is expecting to hold meetings with Kabulov and share the country's concerns as well as explore the possibility of effective collaboration with Russia in the Afghan peace process. The development marks a significant shift in policy for both India and Russia considering the fact that India holds a pivotal position in the new US strategy in Afghanistan which has been strongly criticized by Russia.

    Moreover, last year, Russia had sought to collaborate exclusively with China and Pakistan in its effort to broker a peace deal between the Taliban and the Afghan government. India's exclusion from this multi-party conversation had sown the seeds of discontent between India and Russia.

    However, Moscow later demonstrated its desire to engage India in the process by inviting it to six-party talks held in February this year. Kabulov's upcoming visit would mark the first bilateral engagement between Moscow and New Delhi on Afghanistan. It will be interesting to watch how Pakistan is factored in, especially after the BRICS resolution that identifies Pakistan as a terrorists' safe haven.

    "In the changing geopolitical situation, Russia now wants to maintain a balance between India and Pakistan as far as the Afghan strategy is concerned. Like the US, now Russia also seems very much keen to work with India on the Afghanistan peace process. The fact is that Russia is a close ally of India but recent overtures to Pakistan has been a major cause of concern for India despite assurances from Moscow. India has larger stakes in Afghanistan, therefore, it will be really great if both Russia and India work in tandem in the Afghanistan peace process. In fact, peace and stability in Afghanistan are essential both for India and Russia," Robinder Sachdev, President of an independent think tank, Imagindia told Sputnik.


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