The 6th Heart of Asia Ministerial Conference was jointly inaugurated by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in Amritsar, Punjab on December 4, 2016.
- The theme for this year’s conference is ‘Addressing Challenges, Achieving Prosperity’.
- Sixth Ministerial Conference of the Heart of Asia — Istanbul Process (HoA-IP) was attended by 14 partner countries and more than 30 supporting countries and international organisations.
- The main focus of the conference was peace, cooperation and economic development in Afghanistan.
1.Peace: Countering terrorism to create stability in Afghanistan,
2.Cooperation: Providing Afghanistan connectivity to strengthen economic activities and
3.Economic Development: The development which is essential for the progress of Afghanistan.
Heart of Asia conference adopts ‘Amritsar Declaration’
The Sixth Ministerial Conference on Heart of Asia- Istanbul process of Afghanistan adopted the Amritsar declaration, on December 4, 2016, which puts focus on the concerned countries to address terrorism and enhancing regional economic cooperation.
Important Highlights of the Declaration
- The declaration recognizes terrorism as the biggest threat to peace and security and demands immediate end to all forms of terrorism and all kinds of financial and security support given to terrorists.
- The conference expressed concern over violence caused in Afghanistan and the region by terrorists groups like Al Qaeda,Daesh, Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed and the Haqqani Network.
- The declaration states the urgency to respond to the nexus between drug menace and its financial support for terrorist entities in Afghanistan.
- The Amritsar declaration also demanded early Finalisation of the draft comprehensive convention on international terrorism.
- The declaration states the welcoming of the agreements between the international community and Afghanistan for continued financial support to the Afghanistan National Defence and Security Forces (ANDSF) until 2020.
- The Declaration reiterated strong support from Heart of Asia countries for use of Afghanistan’s location to enhance wider and regional economic cooperation.
- Specific initiatives including Iran-India-Afghanistan trilateral agreement on developing Chabahar were acknowledged.
- The declaration welcomes the MOU on Jointly Building the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road between China and Afghanistan.
About Heart of Asia – Istanbul Process
- The Heart of Asia – Istanbul Process (HoA-IP) was established in 2011 to provide a platform to discuss regional issues, particularly encouraging security, political, and economic cooperation among Afghanistan and its neighbors.
- This region-led dialogue was launched to expand practical coordination between Afghanistan and its neighbors and regional partners in facing common threats, including counterterrorism, counternarcotics, poverty, and extremism.