Pakistan has not yet confirmed its presence in Heart of Asia Conference
On Thursday morning India welcomed Pakistan’s participation in the Heart of Asia conference which is scheduled in December this year but the neighboring country is yet to officially announce its participation in the meeting.
From the External Affairs Ministry
“We are yet to receive the official confirmation and also the height of participation from Pakistan,” said Vikas Swarup, spokesman, Ministry of External Affairs, days after Sartaj Aziz, Adviser on Foreign Affairs to the Pakistan Prime Minister, confirmed Pakistan’s participation in the conference during a press conference held in Islamabad.
On the possibility of engaging in bilateral talks with Pakistan, Swarup said: “We welcome their participation. Irrespective of any bilateral meeting between the two countries, let’s not jump the gun. Lets us first receive their official letter of participation.”
Following the September 18 Uri attacks on the Indian army camp in Jammu and Kashmir which left 18 soldiers dead and a surgical attack of Indian army across the line of Control in Pakistan occupied Kashmir late on September 28, relations between two countries are not at ease.
India refused to attend the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Summit which was to take place in Islamabad on November 15-16. The summit was subsequently postponed as few other member nations like Afghanistan and Bangladesh also refused to attend the meeting.
An all ministers meeting of the Heart of Asia Conference on Afghanistan will take place in Amritsar on December 4. Earlier, in 2015, Islamabad hosted this conference, which was attended by the External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.
The Amritsar conference is a ministerial meeting to discuss peace, development, economic cooperation primarily in Afghanistan, added Swarup.
India is expecting the participation of more than 40 countries including their partner organisations.
Heart of Asia or the Istanbul Process places Afghanistan at the centre and engages all of its neighbouring countries in result oriented cooperation for a peaceful and stable Afghanistan.