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Terrorism, connectivity top agenda in Herat of Asia conference on Saturday in India

AT Monitoring Desk-KABUL: The two-day Heart of Asia summit will take place in India’s Amritsar city on Saturday (today) where terrorism and connectivity would be top agenda.

The Afghan government has circulated a draft on regional cooperation against terrorist organizations to all participating countries for approval at the Heart of Asian conference.

Organizers of the conferences said the aim is to strengthen confidence-building measures and take steps to fight terrorism and narcotics as well as to expand trade and investment opportunities in Afghanistan.

As terrorists and militants are supported from outside of Afghanistan and lack of regional cooperation has irked the Afghan government, Kabul would urge the participating countries to break their silence and fight terrorism collectively.

Afghan ambassador in New Delhi, Shaida M. Abdali, said that peace and stability would not return to the region unless collective measures were taken against those actors who facilitate terrorists and harbor them.

The multilateral global summit, founded in Istanbul in November 2011, would focus on stabilizing Afghanistan. More than 40 foreign ministers and dignitaries of the participating countries would attend the summit on Afghanistan. Around 14 Asian countries would participate in the conference. President Ashraf Ghani and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will jointly inaugurate the ministerial discussion on Sunday, the last day of the summit.  The summit in Amritsar would be sixth in series.  The last ministerial conference was held in Pakistan in December 2015.

Afghanistan is the permanent chair for the Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process, while the host country holds the “co-chair” position. Diplomatic sources in New Delhi said that six confidence building measures would be discussed in the conference.

India’s Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will represent India in the ministerial conference as External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is being treated for kidney ailment.

Earlier, it was reported that Pakistan would boycott the conference due to strained relations between New Delhi and Islamabad. However, a few days ago the Foreign Ministry of Pakistan said that Nawaz Sharif’s Foreign Policy Advisor Sartaj Aziz would attend the summit because of the importance it is giving to Afghanistan.

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