The Heart of Asia conference is all set to held in Amritsar on Saturday and Sunday. The theme of the conference is ‘Addressing Challenges, Achieving Prosperity’. India is hosting this for the first time. The HoA is held is Amritsar because it is known as the door to Afghanistan.
40 nations are expected to participate in the sixth HoA conference which will address Afghanistan’s issues. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani will inaugurate this conference on Sunday. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and the Afghan foreign minister will co-chair the HoA. Sartaj Aziz, the advisor on foreign affairs to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will lead the Pakistani delegation.
India and Pakistan are among the 14 member countries including China, Iran, Turkey, Russia, Sudi Arabia etc. There are also more than 20 supporting countries including Britain, the US, Japan, Australia, Norway and the European Union.
Quoting Pakistan high commissioner to India Abdul Basit, the press attach of Pakistan high commission Manzoor Memon said India hosting this conference so it depends on India to offer Pakistan for a dialogue.
He said that Aziz will arrive in India in his special aircraft on Sunday. “He can either land in Delhi or Amritsar depending on foggy conditions.”
Mohammed Nafees Zakaria, Pakistan Foreign Office spokesman said Islamabad is taking part in the conference because of its commitment to “bring peace and stability” in Afghanistan. He continued, “Despite all negativity, our participation in Heart of Asia conference is quite significant and should be seen as such.”
On Thursday, Zakaria also said these meetings “do afford opportunities for meetings on the sidelines. We have said time and again that Pakistan believes in a peaceful neighbourhood, and have always stressed the need for meaningful dialogue as the only viable solution to lasting peace”.
Several events would be held focusing on the challenge of terrorism in the terror affected region, Afghanistan; exploring cultural and civilizational similarities; countering extremism and co-operation in the educational sector.
The event would address the shared challenges and interests of Afghanistan and its neighbours and regional partners.