Dec 4, 2016
Amritsar declaration on Afghanistan calls for elimination of terror Amritsar: An international conference on Afghanistan in Amritsar on Sunday called for immediate elimination of terrorism to help the war-ravaged country in its political and economic transition.The Amritsar Declaration, issued after the 6th ministerial ‘Heart of Asia conference – Istanbul Process on Afghanistan’ in this Punjab city near India’s border with Pakistan, “recognises terrorism as the biggest threat to peace” and demanded “immediate end to all forms of terrorism”.Citing the declaration, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who chaired the meeting in the absence of ailing External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, said: “We remain concerned by high level of violence in Afghanistan caused by Taliban, terrorist groups including Al Qaeda, Daesh (Islamic State) and its affiliates.””We strongly call for concerted regional and international cooperation to ensure elimination of terrorism, including dismantling of terrorist safe havens in the Heart of Asia region, as well as disrupting all financial and logistical support for terrorism.” — IANS
Don’t blame one country for terrorism: Pakistan’s Aziz Amritsar: Reiterating that Paksitan “is committed to lasting peace in Afghanistan and the region”, Pakistan’s de facto foreign policy chief Sartaj Aziz on Sunday said only one country cannot be blamed for rising terrorist violence in the region.”The first and foremost in our view is continuing violence and acts of terrorism claiming scores of human lives. This needs to be addressed urgently and effectively through collective efforts,” Aziz said at the 6th ministerial ‘Heart of Asia Conference – Istanbul Process on Afghanistan’ in this Punjab city near India’s border with Pakistan.”It’s simplistic to blame only one country for the recent upsurge in violence. We need to have an objective and holistic view,” Aziz said at the two-day conference.Earlier, Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani, in his blunt remarks in the presence of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, unequivocally named Pakistan for promoting terrorism in the region.Aziz said Pakistan had “been making serious efforts for facilitating peace talks between the Afghan government and Taliban that have not yet produced positive results”.”We need to make an objective evaluation of our efforts for peace and stability in Afghanistan.”Aziz said his government stood in solidarity with the elected government and people of Afghanistan in furthering the objective of peace, stability and development.”In our view, there is no military solution to the Afghan conflict and all our efforts should be to achieve a politically negotiated settlement through an Afghan-led Afghan-owned process.”Advocating the need to promote connectivity across the borders, the diplomat said Pakistan was committed to enhancing facilitation for transit of Afghan goods through Pakistan.”We believe the two sides need to work together for extension of and improvements in the Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement. In this context, let me emphasize that peaceful resolution of outstanding disputes will further improve prospects of regional cooperation and connectivity.” — IANS
India to work on infrastructure, housing and skill development“We have been supporting and one of the key areas is going to infrastructure in Afghanistan. The part of this plan is housing and skill development that could be on the agenda,” says Arun Jaitley.Afghanistan minister Hekmat Karzai says that water management, the building of dams are some of the areas that Afghanistan is looking at.
Heart of Asia Declaration recognises terrorism as the biggest threat to peace
Indian support for Afghan development is unconditional: President Ghani Amritsar: Appreciating India’s unconditional support for the economic development of war-ravaged Afghanistan, President Ashraf Ghani on Sunday said the expansion of the key Chabahar port between India, Iran and his country was very important for regional trade and connectivity.Ghani particularly spoke about India’s assistance in the construction of Salma dam — officially called the Afghan-India Friendship Dam — that was inaugurated on 4 June 2016 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with Ghani in Herat province of that country.”India’s support to Afghanistan to improve people’s life is transparent with no strings attached,” the Afghan President said. He was addressing the inaugural function of the 6th ministerial ‘Heart of Asia conference – Istanbul Process on Afghanistan’ in this Punjab city being attended by leaders from south and central Asia and several western countries.Ghani said the Chabahar port development project “is very important for connectivity and commerce”. India and Iran signed a bilateral agreement in May 2016 to refurbish the port on the Gulf of Oman that is expected to provide an alternative route for trade between India and Afghanistan. — IANS
Narendra Modi at Golden Temple in AmritsarPrime Minister Narendra Modi served langar during his visit at Golden temple on the eve of the Heart of Asia Conference, in Amritsar on Saturday. — PTI
Silence is not the answer: PM
Must demonstrate collective will to defeat terror: PMWe all work towards strengthen its political and social fabric and protect its citizens from external threats. The result of our efforts have been hard earned, but mix. The need of the hour is to expand our ground. We must protect and build on the gains of the last 15 years. Let us reflect on what must be done and what must be avoided, so that its citizens get peace and economic growth. The answers are all there: And putting Afghanistan first. We must demonstrate collective will to defeat terror networks that cause bloodshed and spread fear.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi highlights India-Afghanistan past“I welcome all of you in Amritsar, a city blessed with beauty and spirituality. It’s a place where Sikh Gurus meditated here. It embodies peace and humanism and is open to all religions. It teaches us of great valour and sacrifice. It’s a city whose character has been shaped by patriotism and philanthropy of its citizens. It also shares a warm relationship with Afghanistan. The flow of trade and ideas through our region has often intersected in Amritsar and to the Grand Trunk Road.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaking at Heart of Asia
Afghan president stresses on terrorism at Heart of Asia summit
Afghan president stresses on terrorism at Heart of Asia summit
President Ashraf Ghani speaks at Heart of Asia Summit
India’s help is with no strings attached: Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani
Afghanistan president addresses leaders at Heart of Asia Summit
Much to be done to tackle challenges like terrorism and radicalism: Afghanistan Addressing the leaders gathered at the Heart of Asia Summit, Afghan Foreign Minister Salauddin Rabbani said that there’ much that needs to be done to tackle challenges like terrorism and radicalism. The minister was giving his remarks at the inauguration of the Heart of Asia summit.Rabbani also stressed on greater India-Afghanistan relationship. He also stated how India has helped build the Afghanistan parliament and the Salma Dam, officially known as the Afghan-Indian Friendship dam
India ready to help Afghanistan: Arun JaitleyAddressing all the leaders present at the House of Asia summit, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley reaffirmed India’s stand to help Afghanistan through its challenges.
Afghanistan to seek military hardware from India According to a report by Prasar Bharti (read here), Afghanistan is likely to seek enhanced supply of military hardware from India to strengthen its armed forces during the bilateral talk.
Heart of Asia Summit inauguration to open soon, delegates meet for photographPrime Minister meet the delegates at the Heart of Asia summit. Leaders meet for a group photograph.
India-Afghanistan bilateral talk last for one hour: Focus on trade and terrorPrime Minister Narendra Modi and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani talks were on for nearly an hour. According to CNN-News18, both leaders discussed several topics of importance including the air-connectivity corridor for India-Afghan trade, and Pakistan, CNN-News18 reported.Pakistan had earlier rejected a road connectivity between the India and Afghanistan via the Wagah border even though Ghani had threatened to block Pakistan’s trade access to Central Asian States (CAS), if it did not allow Afghanistan to trade with India via the Wagah border.
Pakistan Foreign Affairs minister visit Golden TempleSartaz Aziz visited the Golden Temple on Sunday, CNN-News18 reported. Aziz had postponed his visit on Saturday.
India-Afghan bilateral talk on, Air connectivity corridor discussedPrime Minister Narendra Modi and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani discuss the air connectivity corridor between the two countries.
Sartaj Aziz meets Afghan President Ashraf GhaniAccording to PTI, Pakistan Prime Minister’s Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz on Sunday met Afghan President Ashraf Ghani during which they discussed ways to bring peace and stability in Afghanistan.The meeting took place on the sidelines of the Heart of Asia conference. Both Ghani and Aziz had arrived here last evening. The bilateral meeting came amid Afghanistan expressing its anguish over Islamabad’s not so cooperative approach towards the peace process in the war-ravaged country. “They discussed prospects of peace, development and stability in Afghanistan,” a Pakistani source said. — PTI
Afghan-India bilateral talks
No bilateral talks between India and PakistanAccording to CNN-News18, sources have stated that there will be no bilateral talks between India and Pakistan.
Heart of Asia Summit Day 2: Afghan-India bilateral meet onAs we enter Day 2 of the Heat of Asia summit, Afghanistan and India have begun their bilateral talks. According to CNN-News18, sources, both countries are determined to isolate Pakistan. The only question in everyone’s mind is the early arrival of Pakistan foreign minister Sartaz Aziz.
Is there any good reason to accommodate Sartaj Aziz in Amritsar? The Hearts of Asia conference is about Afghanistan and while technically the Foreign Minister of Pakistan is a delegate, weren’t we supposed to get some sort of traction from the other side of the border by way of assurances that terrorism would have to terminate its relationship with state sponsorship. Suddenly we have their Foreign Minster pop in prematurely and that kind of puts paid to all the outrage over Pampore, Uri, Samba, the mutilation of our soldier in Maalchi and our absolute conviction that Pakistan’s authorities were integral to all these acts of unbridled horror. — Bikram Bohra, Firstpost (read the full story here)
Pakistan Premier’s foreign affairs advisor Sartaj Aziz along with foreign ministers of four countries on Sunday called on Prime Minister
Narendra Modi who told them that it was important to end terrorism and violence for fostering stability in Afghanistan and the region.
The Foreign Ministers of Kyrgyzstan, Iran, Afghanistan, and Slovakia, which holds the European Union Presidency this month, along with Pakistan Prime Minister’s Foreign Affairs Advisor Aziz called on Modi ahead of the 6th Ministerial Conference of the Heart of Asia Istanbul Process on Afghanistan.
PM Narendra Modi with Nawaz Sharif. PTI file image
Modi welcomed the Foreign Ministers and stressed it was the collective responsibility of all those in the region to work together to help Afghanistan out of its current difficulties, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said.
The Prime Minister stated that his several interactions with both the common people of Afghanistan and the country’s leadership had convinced him that the Afghan people were tired of the continuing violence and terrorism. Prime Minister Modi stressed on “the need to end terrorism and violence for fostering stability, security and development in Afghanistan and our region,” Swarup said. In this context, the Prime Minister hoped that discussions in the Ministerial Conference tomorrow will produce good results.
Agreeing with the Premier on the need to end violence in Afghanistan, the Foreign Ministers shared Prime Minister Modi’s view that Afghanistan’s stability, security and prosperity are integral to the region’s, Swarup said. “They greatly appreciated the continued commitment and engagement of India and its leadership for these ends.
The Foreign Ministers warmly thanked India for hosting the Conference and expressed confidence that all friends of Afghanistan will work together for realising the aspirations for peace and development,” he said.
First Published On : Dec 4, 2016 17:15 IST