\’It\’s their internal decision but…\’: India on Afghanistan shutting missions

After the Afghanistan Embassy in New Delhi declared its intention to cease operations from October 1, the government has clarified that the embassy is currently \”functioning or remains operational.\”

During a press briefing on Thursday, Arindam Bagchi, the spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs, stated, \”Our understanding is that the embassy in New Delhi is presently in operation. We are in communication with Afghan diplomats at the embassy, as well as those at the consulates in Mumbai and Hyderabad.\”

The Ministry of External Affairs noted that they had received communication the previous week, allegedly from the embassy, indicating its plan to suspend operations by the end of September.

The government emphasized that the decision to close an embassy is an internal matter for the foreign mission.

\”However, it has come to our attention that the Afghan consulates general in Mumbai and Hyderabad have expressed their objection to this decision. We are also aware that the ambassador has been absent for an extended period, and a significant number of Afghan diplomats have recently departed India,\” Arindam Bagchi added.

\”We hope that a substantial number of Afghan nationals in India, including students, can continue to receive essential consular support. On our part, we will continue our efforts to assist the people of Afghanistan,\” concluded the Ministry of External Affairs.

Last Saturday, the Afghanistan Embassy in New Delhi had announced its decision to halt operations, effective October 1, 2023, citing a \”lack of support from the host government\” as the rationale. They alleged that the absence of vital support from the host government had impeded their ability to effectively carry out their duties.

Regarding the visit of the US Ambassador to Pakistan to PoK (Pakistan-occupied Kashmir), Arindam Bagchi reiterated India\’s position that the entire Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India. He called on the international community to respect India\’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and indicated that India had conveyed its concerns about the US Ambassador\’s visit to the US authorities.

Regarding Canada\’s diplomatic presence in India, the Ministry of External Affairs mentioned that India had sought parity with Canada regarding diplomatic representation. Ongoing discussions are focused on the specifics, given the significantly larger diplomatic presence of Canadian diplomats and allegations of interference in India\’s internal affairs.

Concerning Khalistani elements in the US and the UK, the Ministry of External Affairs stated that they had raised concerns about the presence of such elements. They also highlighted their consistent efforts to address concerns regarding the security of Indian diplomats, facilities, and individuals subject to India\’s security and judicial systems.

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