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Delegation of Top Afghan Taliban leaders hosted by China – Report

China hosts Delegation of Top Afghan Officials as a part of its initiative to promote peace in Pakistan with some personal interests

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The Soldiers Fighting for Peace; Source: Pixabay
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Beijing, March 8, 2017:  In an attempt to persuade the militant group to attach themselves with the peace process in devastated Afghanistan, China hosted a group of top Afghan Taliban Leaders recently; as per a media report published in PTI.

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Sher Abbas Stanikazai, the Afghan Taliban’s Qatar office chief led the delegation of 5 members including- Shahabuddin Dilawar, Jan Muhammad Madani, Salam Hanafi and Saleh, reported the newspaper Express Tribune, quoting sources in Taliban.

The visit has further been confirmed by the people aware of Taliban Qatar office activities. “The visit was part of the relations of the political office with European countries such as Norway, Germany, France, Britain as well as neighbouring and regional countries,” a Taliban source reported to the paper.

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The source, not wanting to be mentioned by name also said that the focus of the relations are to resolve issues through negotiations and bring about peace in Afghanistan.

“Being a major world power, China is the main stakeholder and wants to play its vital role for peace and stability in Afghanistan. That is why it invited the Taliban,” stated another Taliban leader.

Deng Xijun, Chinese special envoy for Afghanistan, visited Kabul and also met Afghan Leaders which includes President Ashraf Ghani, only days after the Taliban trip last month.

“China has always conveyed to the Taliban during meetings that it recognises the Afghan government and the president and that talks are the only option for them,” Deng said. He told Ghani, “China has always encouraged the Taliban to join the peace process.”

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Days after the trilateral meeting in Moscow, of senior officials from Pakistan, Russia and China, the Taliban visited China.

According to regional experts, the failure of the American policy along with subsequent drift in the US-Afghan Policy, vacuum has emerged in the country and region, causing China to actively promote peace and stability in Afghanistan.

Mushahid Hussain Sayed, Chairman of Pakistan Senate’s Committee on Defence listed some of China’s intentions and interests behind its Afghan peace initiative.

“Firstly, to stop Afghanistan from being a springboard for any possible spillover into China of the lingering instability due to the Afghan civil war, particularly on the sensitive Xinjiang province of China that shares a border with Afghanistan,” Sayed said.

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“Secondly, to coordinate Afghan policy with Pakistan, given the Beijing-Islamabad strategic partnership, so that Afghanistan is not a venue or battleground for a new round of proxy war or a new Cold War detrimental to both the allies’ interests,” he said.

“Thirdly, to provide for a more conducive regional environment and to ensure peace, security and stability via a peace process involving the Kabul regime and the Taliban,” he added.

By Nikita Saraf; Twitter: @niki_saraf

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India China’s Fight Over the Doklam Plateau Explained

Doklam or Donglang, is a disputed area between China and Bhutan located near their tri-junction with India

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picture from- indiaopines.com

By Ruchika Verma

  • India and China have an old history of disputes
  • This time, the dispute is regarding the Dokplam Plateau
  • The area is of strategic importance for both the nations

Disputes between India and China are not at all uncommon. The rivalry between the two nations is famous. There have been several disputes between the two on the India-China border in past, and there seems to be no stopping for these disputes in the present or future, for that matter.

India and China have a n old history of repeated disputes. zeenews.india.com
India and China have an old history of repeated disputes. zeenews.india.com

In June 2017, the world witnessed yet another dispute arising between India and China. This time the dispute was about China building a road extending to Doklam Plateau, which both nations have been fighting over for years now.

Also Read: China is likely to get involved if India disrupts $46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor

History of the dispute 

Doklam or Donglang (in Chinese), is a disputed area between China and Bhutan located near their tri-junction with India. India doesn’t directly claim the area but supports Bhutan’s claims on it.

India fits into the picture, as this plateau is an important area for India. Not only is Bhutan one of the biggest allies of India; China gaining access over the Doklam Plateau will also endanger India’s borders, making them vulnerable to attacks.

Dopkam plateau is an important area near India, China and Bhutan's borders.
Dopkam plateau is an important area near India, China and Bhutan’s borders.

Apart from the hostile history of the two nations, the Doklam Plateau is also important for India to maintain its control over a land corridor that connects to its remote northeastern States. China building a road through Doklam surely threatens that control.

A complete timeline of what happened in the recent Doklam Standoff 

On 16 June 2017, Chinese troops with construction vehicles and excavators began extending an existing road southward on the Doklam plateau, near India’s border. It was Bhutan which raised the alarm for India.

On 18 June 2017, India responded by sending around 270 Indian troops, with weapons and two bulldozers to evict the Chinese troops from Doklam.

On 29 June 2017, Bhutan protested against the construction of a road in the disputed territory.  According to the Bhutanese government, China attempted to extend a road in an area which is shared both Bhutan and India, along with China.

Between 30 June 2017 and 5 July 2017, China released multiple statements justifying their claim over the Doklam plateau. They cited reasons as to why the Doklam standoff wasn’t really needed. And how China has not intruded into India’s territory to incite the standoff.

On 19th July 2017, China asked India again to withdraw its troops from the Doklam. On 24th July 2017,  Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, in his statement, asked India to withdraw and behave themselves to maintain peace.

India and China seem to never agree when it comes to their borders. BBC
India and China seem to never agree when it comes to their borders. BBC

Also Read: Why India Must Counter China’s High-Altitude Land Grab?

What followed till 16th August 2017 was China constantly alleging India of trying to create trouble. They accused India of trying to disturb the peace and not withdrawing the troops, even after repeated reminders. They also accused India of bullying.

India, however, kept quiet during the whole fiasco, only releasing a statement regarding their stand and position at the Doklam standoff.

On 28 August 2017, India and China finally announced that they had agreed to pull their troops back from the Doklam standoff. The withdrawal was completed on that very day.

On 7 September 2017, many media reports claimed that both nation’s troops have not left the site completely. They were still patrolling the area, simply having moved 150 meters away from their previous position.

On 9 October 2017, China announced that it is ready to maintain peace with India at the frontiers. India reacted in affirmative, the peace was established when Indian Defence Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman’s visited Nathu La.

The issue between the two nations may rise again. Pixabay
The issue between the two nations may rise again. Pixabay

The Doklam issue, for now, is resolved. However, given the history of disputes between India and China, it won’t be a surprise if the issue resurfaces again in near future.