New Delhi: Hitting out at Centre’s decision to hold ‘non-official dialogue’ with the Taliban, NC leader and former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah on Friday asked if New Delhi can participate at a non-official level in the Moscow format meeting on Afghanistan, which will be attended by Taliban delegation, then why can’t it hold a dialogue with “non-mainstream stake holders’ in regard with the issue of Jammu and Kashmir.

“If ‘non-official’ participation in a dialogue that includes the taliban is acceptable to the Modi government why not a ‘non-official’ dialogue with non-mainstream stake holders in J&K? Why not a “non-official” dialogue centred around J&K’s eroded autonomy and its restoration,” asked the former Jammu and Kashmir CM on micro-blogging site Twitter.

Defence Expert Rahul Jalali, also commented on Abdullah’s tweet and was of the view that the Hurriyat first have to accept to sit on the table for discussion with the government. The expert also asserted that “Hurriyats are not prepared to do so especially after giving a boycott call for Panchayat elections in the state”.

Earlier on Thursday, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar, while addressing reporters had said that New Delhi would engage in a talk with the Taliban, at a “non-official level”, in the meeting being hosted by Russia on Afghanistan.

“We are aware that the Russian Federation is hosting a meeting in Moscow on 9 November on Afghanistan. Our participation at the meeting will be at the non-official level. India supports all efforts at peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan that will preserve unity and plurality, and bring security, stability, and prosperity to the country”. “India’s consistent policy has been that such efforts should be Afghan-led, Afghan-owned, and Afghan-controlled and with the participation of the government of Afghanistan,” Kumar asserted.

This is the first time India has agreed to participate in talks with the Taliban for the establishment of peace in Afghanistan.