By Express News Service

NEW DELHI: The G7 leaders, who met to discuss the situation in Afghanistan on Tuesday, have decided that India would be included in further discussions on the war-torn country. According to sources, the decision to include India in future discussions was taken keeping in mind India’s interests in the region. India has economic interests worth around $3 billion in Afghanistan.

It is learnt that the decision to include India in further negotiations by the G7 was taken after Prime Minister Narendra Modi had a 45-minute conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The two leaders agreed to establish a permanent channel to deal with the situation in Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, sources said India is ready to engage with anyone who has its national interests in mind. Without naming the Taliban, sources added that New Delhi was ready to protect its interests in Afghanistan by engaging with entities who are ready to secure their economic and security interests in the war-torn country.

Earlier also, India had hinted that it was engaging with the Taliban. External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, when asked about India holding talks with the group, had said it was a fact that the militant group and its representatives had taken control of Afghanistan. “It is time to take it forward from here,” he added.

External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi, in response to a question and without denying the engagement with the Taliban, had stated India was in touch with all stakeholders in Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, there were unconfirmed reports that some of the evacuees from Afghanistan, who landed in the capital on Tuesday, have tested positive for coronavirus. They are said to be asymptomatic and are in quarantine. Some of theose who tested positive, had come in contact with Union ministers Hardeep Singh Puri and V Muraleedharan at the airport.