India describes as false reports about Jaishankar's meeting with Taliban leaders

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New Delhi, Jul 2 (PTI) India on Friday categorically rejected reports about External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar's meeting with Taliban leaders, describing them as 'false and mischievous'.

'We have seen some media reports based on a tweet by some journalists about meeting with Taliban by the External Affairs Minister,' External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said at a media briefing.

'Let me categorically deny claims that the External Affairs Minister met any Taliban leader. Such stories are false and mischievous,' he said while replying to a question.

Bagchi said India supports all peace initiatives and has been engaged with various stakeholders.

There has been a renewed push towards the Afghan peace process as the US looked to complete the withdrawal of its forces from Afghanistan by September 11, ending nearly two-decade of its military presence in the war-ravaged country.

In the midst of fast-paced developments relating to the Afghan peace process, a senior Qatari diplomat said at a webinar organised by the Arab Center in Washington DC recently that he believed the Indian side was engaging with the Taliban as the group could be a key component in the future of Afghanistan.

India has been a major stakeholder in the peace and stability of Afghanistan.

It has already invested nearly USD 3 billion in aid and reconstruction activities in the country.

India has been supporting a national peace and reconciliation process which is Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled.

In March, Afghan foreign minister Mohammad Haneef Atmar visited India during which Jaishankar conveyed to him India's long-term commitment towards a peaceful, sovereign and stable Afghanistan. PTI MPB ANB ANB

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