In a somewhat unusual move, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has invited delegates from the Afghan Taliban to attend an online course organised by the Indian Institute of Management, Kozhikode.
18 Afghan nationals, including Taliban officials, are attending a four-day online course conducted under ‘Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation’ (ITEC), which began on Tuesday.
What is the course?
The programme is titled “Immersing with Indian Thoughts, An India Immersion Program for Cross-Sectoral Foreign Delegates” and is open to students “around the world, including in Afghanistan”.
According to details on the ITEC website, there will be a maximum of 30 participants, a mix of government officials, business leaders, executives, and entrepreneurs.
The Course would give participants a deeper grasp of Indian business, environment, culture, history, and regulatory ecosystem, the website stated.
“This course provides participants an opportunity to experience and learn about India’s economic environment, regulatory ecosystem, leadership insights, social and historical backdrop, cultural heritage, legal and environmental landscape, consumer mindsets, and business risks,” the synopsis said.
Open to foreign delegates
Taliban director general of diplomacy, Mufti Nurullah Azzam, said that the Indian Embassy had provided informal information about a brief course that the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) gave employees of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs under the caretaker Taliban regime.
Another step towards recognising Taliban
While India has been offering several capacity-building programmes for friendly countries through the ITEC programme run by the Ministry of External Affairs, this is the first time since the Taliban captured power in Afghanistan in 2021, and an invitation has been extended to representatives of the militia.
Unlike in the past, when India had refused to recognise the Taliban as a legitimate government in the 90s, this time, New Delhi has taken a different approach.
In mid-2022, India, which had pulled its diplomats out of the country following the chaotic Taliban takeover, had re-started its Kabul embassy by deploying “technical staff”, which allowed the country to open up a dialogue with the ‘government’.
Taliban wants better ties with India
The Taliban, which has been seeking international recognition, has clarified that they want better ties with India.
New Delhi was one of the first to offer much-needed food aid to the starving people of Afghanistan. Even as recently as last week, India had sent wheat to the country through the Chabahar port in Iran and not via road through Pakistan.
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