India should keep diplomatic channels open for talks with the Taliban but act very cautiously toward legitimization, former diplomat Gautam Mukhopadhyay said Friday.
During a discussion hosted by the Press Club of India, he said there is “a false narrative” being built to project the Taliban as different from what the world saw in Afghanistan two decades ago.
“We have to talk to them. That’s diplomacy… We have to be very careful in legitimizing the Taliban,” he said.
Mukhopadhyay said the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan will have an “inspiring effect” around the world.
“In short, it is not possible that what the Taliban have done in Afghanistan will remain and be contained. It will have ripple effects, demonstration effects and inspirational effects everywhere,” he said.
“Anyone who thinks that they have made a deal with the Taliban and thus that al-Qaeda will not attack them or that the Taliban will protect them from ISIS are making a grave mistake,” the former diplomat added.
Speaking at the event, another former diplomat Vivek Katju also said India should keep its diplomatic channels open for talks with the Taliban.
“We need to talk to them, explore opportunities, not because their ideology has to be accepted. The Taliban’s ideological orientations are completely deplorable, contradicting everything the Indian state stands for,” he said.
Mr Katju said India should closely monitor developments in Afghanistan and develop a policy for future agreements with the neighboring country.
“The reality is that almost all of Afghanisan is in captivity by the Taliban. We should have a policy for our neighbor,” he said.