India should keep diplomatic channels open for talks with the Taliban, but move very cautiously towards legitimising it, former diplomat Gautam Mukhopadhyay said on Friday. Speaking at a discussion organised by the Press Club of India, he said "a false narrative" is being built to project the Taliban as different from what the world saw in Afghanistan two decades ago.
"We must talk to them. That is diplomacy.... We should be very careful in legitimising the Taliban," he said. Mukhopadhyay said the takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban will have an "inspirational effect" all across the world.
"Basically, it is not possible that what the Taliban has done is going to stay and be contained in Afghanistan. It will have ripple effects, demonstration effects and inspirational effects all across," he said.
"All those who think that they made a deal with the Taliban and hence, the al-Qaeda will not attack them or that the Taliban will protect them from the ISIS are making a serious 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 should talk to them, explore opportunities, not because their ideology needs to be accepted. Ideological orientations of the Taliban are completely deplorable, antithetical to all that the Indian State stands for," he said.
Katju said India must keep a close watch on the developments in Afghanistan and work out a policy for future engagements with the neighbouring country.
"The reality is that almost entire Afghanisan is in captivity of the Taliban. We should have a policy for our neighbour," he said.