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Afghan Crisis: At Cabinet Security Meet, PM Modi Says Bringing Back Stranded Indians Top Priority

Prime Minister Narendra Modi chairs crucial meeting on security situation in Afghanistan. Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and NSA Ajit Doval also attended. (Image: Govt source)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi chairs crucial meeting on security situation in Afghanistan. Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and NSA Ajit Doval also attended. (Image: Govt source)

The meeting was attended by Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday chaired a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) to discuss the crisis in Afghanistan, which has now fallen to the Taliban. The meeting, which was held at the PM’s official residence at 7 Lok Kalyan Marg, was attended by Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval.

Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister PK Mishra, India’s Foreign Secretary Harsh Shringla, and India’s Ambassador to Afghanistan Rudrendra Tandon, who just returned to India on Tuesday evening, also attended the meeting. Foreign Minister S Jaishankar, however, was missing as he is currently travelling overseas.

As per sources, PM Modi expressed concern over the situation unfolding in Afghanistan following a takeover by the Taliban. The Prime Minister asked officials to ensure safe return of all Indians, who are stuck in the strife-torn country, even if it means sending multiple flights to Kabul and other locations. The Prime Minister was also briefed on how India was able to bring back more than 120 people on Tuesday with the help of an IAF aircraft.

According to top sources, PM Modi said that true to India’s reputation, New Delhi must extend a helping hand to all Afghans. He also said, as per sources, that any Hindu or Sikh minority, who wanted to return must be helped at the earliest.

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According to a senior official privy to the proceedings, the Prime Minister said, “India must not only protect our citizens, but we must also provide refuge to those Sikh and Hindu minorities, who want to come to India, and we must also provide all possible help to our Afghan brothers and sisters who are looking towards India for assistance.”

According to sources, the CCS was also briefed in detail on the current and evolving security and political situation in Afghanistan, on the recent evacuations of Indian Embassy officials and some members of the Indian community, as well as some members of Indian media.

The Indian government on Tuesday secured the return of close to 120 Indians, which also included staff of the embassy, including Ambassador Tandon, media persons and personnel from the ITBP. The flight which took off from Kabul in the morning made a halt for refuelling at Jamnagar, Gujarat, before landing in Delhi.

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first published:August 17, 2021, 21:58 IST