The main focus area at the Heart of Asia conference was terrorism emanating from Pakistan. PM Narendra Modi and Afghan president Ashraf Ghani wanted to corner Islamabad.
Ghani said to the Pakistan prime minister’s adviser on foreign affairs Sartaj Aziz, “Pakistan has generously pledged $500 million for reconstruction of Afghanistan. This fund, Mr Aziz, could very well be used for containing extremism because without peace, any amount of assistance will not meet the needs of our people.”
In the conference, PM Modi without naming Pakistan said terrorism and externally generated disorder is the serious threat to Afghanistan’s peace, prosperity and stability.
He asked to take action against those who sheltered, train and finance terrorism. He said this endangered the whole region and “support for voices of peace in Afghanistan alone is not enough”. “It must be backed by resolute action. Not just against forces of terrorism, but also against those who support, shelter, train and finance them.”
The terror groups which were in the list, Taliban, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, the Haqqani Network, East Turkistan Islamic Movement, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, Jamat-ul-Ahrar, a TTP offshoot which Pakistan has often hinted are foreign funded. Jundullah, the anti-Iran group based in Balochistan, is also listed with the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and East Turkistan Islamic Movement.
After the conference, Modi and Ghani had a bilateral meeting in which they talked about the progress on the decision to strengthen bilateral economic cooperation and the strategic partnership between the two nations.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley who co-chaired the summit with the Afghan foreign minister said that this was for the first time “a Heart of Asia declaration has expressed concern at the violence caused in Afghanistan and the region by groups like al-Qaeda and Daesh, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad etc.”
What Sartaj Aziz said
On the other hand, Sartaj Aziz said that blaming one country for terrorism would not bringing peace in the region.
Sartaj held an ’emergency’ press conference after arriving Islamabad where he said on the sidelines of the conference he met with the PM Modi, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and others.
He added hat Indian media tried to put pressure on Pakistan in the context of terrorism in the conference. Aziz asserted despite the tensed situation across the Line of Control everyone whom he met at the conference appreciated them for attending the summit.
According to him, the security arrangements in India was quite strange as they were not allowed to speak or meet with anyone.
He said during his meeting with Afghan president Ashraf Ghanim, he assured him of Pakistan’s full cooperation and tried to highlight the importance of assuring the functioning of an effective monitoring system at the border.