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6th Heart of Asia Summit Concludes in Amritsar
Dec 07, 2016

What we are discussing?

Recently concluded Sixth Ministerial Conference of the Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process on Afghanistan in Amritsar.

The Sixth Ministerial Conference of the Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process on Afghanistan was held in Amritsar on 3-4 December.  The conference adopted the Amritsar Declaration which puts focus on the Heart of Asia countries and supporting countries and organizations working together to comprehensively address the menace of terrorism. Issues of terrorism took centre stage at the event.

3 Big Issues of the Conference

  1. Countering terrorism to create stability and security in Afghanistan.
  2. Providing Afghanistan connectivity to strengthen economic activities.
  3. Development, which is essential for the progress of Afghanistan.

Key Highlights

  • The Conference was jointly inaugurated by the President of Afghanistan Mohammad Ashraf Ghani and Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi.
  • Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s foreign affairs advisor Sartaj Aziz attended the meet.
  • The Conference had substantive deliberations on a number of facets pertaining to the situation in Afghanistan. 
  • Attended by some 40 countries, the two-day conference concluded with a strong declaration calling for concerted regional and international cooperation to ensure elimination of terrorism as well as dismantling of terrorist sanctuaries and safe havens in region as also disrupting all financial, tactical and logistical support for terror networks.
  • India asked the international community to demonstrate strong collective will to defeat terror networks that cause bloodshed and spread fear as silence and inaction against terrorism in Afghanistan and in the region will only embolden terrorists and their masters.
  • Afghan President Ashraf Ghani directly blamed Pakistan for launching an undeclared war against his country and demanded an Asian or international regime to verify Pakistan-sponsor terror operations. 
  • The President of Afghanistan gave a stern message to Pakistan. It not only refused to accept a $500 million aid but told Pakistan that it should use this money against the terror outfits.

Amritsar Declaration

  • For the first time, a Heart of Asia Declaration expressed concern at the violence caused in Afghanistan and the region by terrorist groups like al-Qaida, Daesh, Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Muhammed etc.
  • The Amritsar declaration said that among other terror groups propagating a high level of violence were the Taliban, Daesh (Islamic State) and its affiliates, the Haqqani Network, Al Qaida, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Muhammed, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan and other foreign terrorist outfits.
  • The Amritsar declaration said its members recognised the necessity of taking serious measures to address recruitment of youth to extremist and terrorist networks. We realise radicalisation of youth can only be prevented by effective de-radicalisation strategies involving all Heart of Asia countries. 
  • The declaration sought the early finalization of a draft Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism, and favoured an early meeting of experts to discuss a draft Regional Counter-Terrorism Framework (which was recently prepared by Afghanistan) for its early finalization.
  • The Declaration also calls for early finalization of the draft Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism and early meeting of experts to discuss a draft Regional Counter-Terrorism Framework Strategy, recently prepared by Afghanistan, for its early finalization.
  • The discussions and the Declaration reiterated the strong support from the Heart of Asia countries for Afghanistan’s efforts to use its geographic location to enhance wider regional economic cooperation. Specific initiatives in this regard including the India-Iran-Afghanistan Trilateral Agreement on developing Chabahar were acknowledged.
  • The Conference was attended by delegations from practically every participating country, supporting countries and international organizations–45 in all. 
  • The delegations of Afghanistan, India, Iran, Kyrgyz Republic, Pakistan, Turkey and Turkmenistan, and of the European Union were led by the respective Ministers.
  • The Conference also saw the presence and participation of guest countries Austria, Bulgaria, Latvia and Uzbekistan.

What is Heart of Asia—Istanbul Process

Afghanistan is the heart of the ‘Heart of Asia’ conference. This is because the principal goal of the Heart of Asia, which was launched in November 2011 in Turkey, is to galvanise regional cooperation for peace, security and development in Afghanistan. 

In the process it will also contribute to the stability and prosperity to Afghanistan’s extended neighbourhood in South Asia, Central Asia and West Asia is equally important, but Afghanistan remains the heart of the Istanbul process.

Previous Conferences
In this process of promoting peace and prosperity, the previous five Ministerial Conferences in Istanbul (2011), Kabul (2012), Almaty (2013), Beijing (2014), and Islamabad (2015) have facilitated both bilaterally and multilateral aid and developmental assistance worth billions of dollars.

Member & Supporting Countries

  • Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, China, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and the UAE are the member countries.
  • There are more than 20 supporting countries and few supporting organizations like UN, SAARC etc. 

 

 


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