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No change in India's position on not recognising Taliban: MEA

Reports said Afghan foreign policy body asked officials to attend an ITEC programme

MEA Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi | Twitter/ANI MEA Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi | Twitter/ANI

India on Thursday asserted that there has been no change in its position on not recognising the Taliban regime in Kabul, in comments that came amid reports of an Afghan foreign policy body asking officials to attend an online programme under the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) initiative.

The Institute of Diplomacy under the Afghan Foreign Ministry reportedly conveyed to officials in Kabul to register for the ITEC course which was to be hosted by the Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Kozhikode.

At a media briefing, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi also said that the Indian side does not issue any note verbales to any entities that are not recognised by New Delhi.

A letter issued by the Institute of Diplomacy to informing officials about the ITEC programme also referred to a note verbale from the Indian embassy in Kabul on the course.

However, Bagchi said there is no question of sending such communication entities that are not recognised.

"India has been extending capacity building assistance to developing countries across the world through what is called the ITEC programme. This includes online courses," he said.

Bagchi said these scholarship courses cover numerous topics and are conducted by different Indian institutions.

"These courses are also open to nationals of various countries, including Afghanistan.A number of Afghan nationals, both based in India as well as in Afghanistan, have been participating in these ITEC courses," Bagchi said.

"Of course, the online courses do not involve travel to India," he said.

The MEA spokesperson said there has been no change in India's position on the Taliban regime.

"Our position on how we see developments in Afghanistan has not changed. I do not think anything should be read into ITEC courses vis-a-vis that. We certainly would not be issuing note verbales, which are inter-governmental notes, to entities that are not recognised," he said.

India has not yet recognised the Taliban regime in Afghanistan and has been pitching for the formation of a truly inclusive government in Kabul besides insisting that Afghan soil must not be used for any terrorist activities against any country.

India has been pitching for providing unimpeded humanitarian aid to Afghanistan to address the unfolding humanitarian crisis in the country.

In June last year, India re-established its diplomatic presence in Kabul by deploying a "technical team" in its embassy in the Afghan capital.

India had withdrawn its officials from the embassy after the Taliban seized power in August 2021 following concerns over their security.

The ITEC is the leading capacity building platform of the Ministry Of External Affairs.

Instituted in 1964, ITEC is one of the oldest institutionalised arrangements for international capacity building having trained more than 200,000 officials from 160+ countries in both the civilian and in the defence sector.

Building on India's vast and rich network of governance and development-related expertise available in higher educational institutions and training facilities, the ITEC offers nearly 10,000 fully-funded in-person training opportunities through nearly 400 courses offered at 100-plus eminent institutes in India each year.

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