Pakistan may attend a key regional conference on Afghanistan in India in what is seen as a calculated move to offset efforts by the Indian government to isolate the country following the Uri terror attack, media reported on Monday.
According to media reports, Pak Prime Minister’s Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said on Monday that Pakistan to attend 'heart of Asia' conference in India. The Heart of Asia-Istanbul ministerial meeting is scheduled to take place in the first week of December in Amritsar in Punjab.
Pakistan’s participation was doubtful due to ongoing tensions and Indian boycott of the summit of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) scheduled to be held in Pakistan in November.
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Citing continuous cross-border terrorism from Pakistan, India had announced that “in the present circumstances” it was unable to participate in the SAARC summit in Islamabad.
Pakistan to attend 'heart of Asia' conference in Amritsar in December says Adviser to Pak PM on foreign affairs Sartaj Aziz: Pak media— ANI (@ANI_news) October 24, 2016
Foreign ministers from 14-member countries, including Russia, China and Turkey, are expected to attend the day-long conference meant to discuss the current Afghan situation and possible initiatives the immediate and extended neighbours of Afghanistan could undertake to restore long-term peace and stability in the war-torn country.
Senior officials from 17 supporting countries, including the United States, will also participate in the meeting to be jointly presided over by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
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The Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process was established in 2011 at the initiative of Afghanistan and Turkey. Its main objective is to foster efforts for regional cooperation and connectivity with a view to promoting long-term peace and stability as well as progress and development in Afghanistan.
Pakistan hosted the last Ministerial Conference in December last year which was also attended by Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.
Notably, the Afghan regional conference last year had helped Pakistan and India to revive their stalled peace process after the meeting between Aziz and Swaraj on the sidelines.
(With PTI inputs)