Meet on Afghanistan to focus on terrorism

New Delhi, Nov 30 (IANS) The upcoming Heart of Asia conference on Afghanistan to be held in India will discuss the problem of terrorism in the South Asian region in detail, Afghan Ambassador to India Shaida Mohammad Abdali said on Wednesday.

“As we all know and as Afghanistan has always stated, terrorism is a continuous threat especially to India and Afghanistan and of course many others in the region,” Abdali said at a media briefing here ahead of the Sixth Ministerial Conference of the Heart of Asia Istanbul Process to be held in Amritsar on Dcemeber 3-4.

Without naming Pakistan, he said that during the Heart of Asia process, “unless we take a collective measure to fight terrorism, to fight the breeding ground of terrorism, the safe sacntuaries, we will not be able to bring peace and stability either to Afghanistan or to anywhere else in the region or India”.

“At the same time, as we all know, terrorism is a creation of this region and the solution lies within this region,” the Ambassador said.

“Therefore, the upcoming Heart of Asia is very well timed and very well placed to discuss how we should find solutions to the theme that we have already put forward: addressing challenges and prosperity.”

He said he expected the Heart of Asia conference to approve a counter-terrorism framework that has been drafted by Afghanistan.

“Terrorism is a multi-faceted phenomena and that requires a multi-faceted approach with measures against recruitment, safe sanctuaries, terrorist networks, drug traffickers and of course with measures on how to deradicalise,” Abdali said.

As for the second part of the theme – achieving prosperity – he said that the geography of the Heart of Asia countries was such that it has huge economic potential. “but unfortunately it is yet to be realised”.

Stating that connectivity was important for this, the Ambassador said that Afghanistan has made remarkable progress in this area in the last two years.

Stating that Afghanistan was strategically located, he said: “We hope that we agree on the early implementation of the CASA 1000 (Centra Asia and South Asia electricity project), TAPI (Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India gas pipeline), Chabahar (port in Iran) transit agreement that we signed between India, Afghanistan and Iran, the five-nation railway network and a number of other initiatives and projects that we have agreed upon, including North-South, East-West corridor within the region.”

Gopal Baglay, Joint Secretary (Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran) in the Ministry of External Affairs, said that during the upcoming conference, a basket of six confidence building measures (CBMs) would be discussed.

According to Abdali, India has done a “remarkable job” in heading the trade and transit CBM.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani will arrive in Amritsar on December 3 afternoon and will hold a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the evening.

With External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj being indisposed, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will represent India in the ministerial conference on December 4 which will be attended by around 40 countries.

–IANS

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