Pakistan

Preparatory session for ‘Heart of Asia’ moot begins

ISLAMABAD: A meeting of the senior officials of the countries attending the Heart of Asia Conference began in Islamabad today to prepare for Wednesday’s ministerial session that will be jointly inaugurated by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and President Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan.

The theme of the meeting, jointly hosted by Pakistan and Afghanistan, is ‘Heart of Asia—Istanbul Process: Enhanced cooperation for countering security threats and promoting connectivity in the Heart of Asia region’.

Foreign Office spokesman in a statement earlier said that the fifth ministerial conference is expected to adopt a forward looking Islamabad Declaration that would underline commitments from the Heart of Asia countries and partners for sustained efforts towards promoting peace and security, economic development and connectivity in the region.

Pakistan, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, China, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and the United Arab Emirates are part of the initiative launched in 2011 for encouraging economic and security cooperation between Afghanistan and its neighbours for dealing with the common problems of terrorism, extremism and poverty.

The member countries pursuing confidence-building measures in six key areas since the 2013 Almaty meeting, including disaster management, counter-terrorism, counter-narcotics, trade and investment, regional infrastructure, and education.

Indian external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj also arriving Islamabad to attend the moot that will be participated by the representatives of 17 countries and 12 international organizations.

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