India, China to hold first dialogue on Afghanistan

Beijing: India and China would hold their first-ever dialogue on Afghanistan here on Thursday aiming to cooperate to deal with the impact of US troops' pullout from the war-torn country by 2014 amid fears of return of Taliban and al-Qaeda.

The dialogue between the two countries signifies China's interest in seeking convergence with India on the emerging grim situation in Afghanistan even as it held similar talks with Russia and its close ally Pakistan.

The meeting is taking place in the backdrop of talks between the National Security Advisors of India, China and Russia held in Moscow recently to discuss the situation in Afghanistan.

China also held a trilateral meeting with Russia and Pakistan later.

From Indian side the talks will be led by Y K Sinha, Additional Secretary, Pakistan Afghanistan Iran, (PAI) of the External Affairs Ministry, and his counterparts in the Chinese Foreign Ministry, officials here told PTI.

Singnificantly, the meeting is followed by annual Counter Terrorism dialogue on April 11 and 12 here in which the Afghan situation and emergence of militant groups and threats posed by them to the countries in the region were discussed.

After that China and Pakistan held talks on the same subject few days ago, the outcome of which, official say lays a broad framework for tomorrow's Beijing-New Delhi talks on Afghanistan.

China's concerns over US pullout from Afghanistan arises out of its USD three billion dollars investments in that country, besides its fears of a adverse impact on its Muslim Uygur dominated Xinjiang province, which border Afghanistan as well as Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK).

They are also concerned that the groups inimical to Chinese interest should not be get safe heavens after combat troop withdrawal.

Apart from "gazing" each others stance and strategy in the war-torn country, the two sides will try to explore areas of cooperation to protect their economic interest.