Washington, Apr 24: US Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs Alice Wells will travel to New Delhi this week to discuss US-India cooperation in promoting a free, open and prosperous Indo-Pacific region.
Wells will be in New Delhi, Thimpu and Islamabad from April 21 to 30.
In New Delhi, she will meet with senior officials to discuss U.S-India cooperation in promoting a free, open and prosperous Indo-Pacific region and advance initiatives agreed upon at the 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue last fall, the State Department said.
In Thimpu, she will explore prospects for deeper bilateral engagement. In Islamabad, she will meet senior Pakistani officials to discuss bilateral issues of mutual interest, including trade, investment, and regional stability. Also, Zalmay Khalilzad, Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, will be in India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Qatar, Russia, and the United Kingdom from April 21 to May 11, as part of the overall effort to facilitate a political settlement that ends the conflict in Afghanistan.
In Doha, he will continue to press forward on negotiations with the Taliban to reach a consensus on core national security issues, and urge their participation in an inclusive intra-Afghan dialogue, said the department.
"Setting off again to further US efforts to end the war in Afghanistan. On this trip, I'm working to build on international support for Afghan peace process and push Afghan parties forward on dialogue and negotiations. A bump in the road isn't reason to slow down," Khalilzad said in a Twitter post. Khalilzad's trip comes amid Washington's disappointment over the cancellation of the Afghan talks with the Taliban that were to have been hosted by the Qatari capital on April 20. The two-day meeting was called off at the last minute after Taliban officials objected to the large size of the Afghan delegation.
"Dialogue is and always will be key to a political roadmap and lasting peace. There is no alternative. I urge all sides to seize the moment and put things back on track by agreeing to a participant list that speaks for all Afghans. I stand ready to help if our help is needed," he said. India last year had participated at an "unofficial level" at Moscow format talks, a Russian initiative strated in 2017 on the basis of the six-party mechanism for consultations between special representatives from Russia, Afghanistan, China, Pakistan, Iran and India. (UNI)