Deputy Foreign Minister of Afghanistan H.E. Hekmat Khalil Karzai was in New Delhi to attend the first Senior Officials Meeting of the Heart of Asia - Istanbul Process hosted by India on April 26th, 2016.
Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar and Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister Hekmat Khalil Karzai co-chaired the meeting.
The theme for Heart of Asia – Istanbul Process for 2016 was "addressing challenges and achieving prosperity.” In addition to Afghanistan, India and UN the conference was attended by members, supporting countries and international organizations .The agenda of the conference focused on establishing peace and stability in Afghanistan. However, the progress on counter-narcotics, counter terrorism, education, disaster management, regional infrastructure, trade and investment opportunities CBMs was also reviewed.
The Deputy Foreign Minister of Afghanistan H.E. Hekmat Khalil Karzai reiterated the relevance of the Heart of Asia Process as an important regional platform for dialogue and cooperation to discuss and adopt collective measures to address the challenges that confront Heart of Asia member countries.
Karzai stressed that “As a Strategic Partner of Afghanistan, India continues to play a pivotal role in supporting our shared efforts to make steady progress in various areas, including: security, economic and social development, and cultural cooperation. India’s multifaceted assistance has reached every corner of Afghanistan either through their signature infrastructure projects or small development programs.
Further stated that “The ultimate solution for creating a peaceful and prosperous environment in the Heart of Asia region depends on how sincerely we strive to do so. If we fail to fulfill our shared responsibilities today, our region will be certain to become a hotbed of international terrorist groups, shattering the secure future we all desire. That is why now is the time to reconsider the “zero-sum game” approaches and join hands in the fight against all forms and manifestations of terrorism.”
Lauding the efforts by Afghan government in achieving democracy and pluralism, Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar stated that Afghanistan faced many challenges in the past 15 years and now it is imperative to have a collective approach among Heart of Asia member countries for a stable and prosper Afghanistan as peaceful Afghanistan will act as a bridge of connectivity between East and West and central and South Asia.
On the sidelines of the conference, Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister and India’s Foreign Secretary discussed the strategically important Chabahar port project and also the regional projects such as TAPI, Casa1000 and South-North corridor.
India is set to host the Sixth Ministerial Conference of the HoA Process in the last quarter of 2016.
For full remarks of Deputy Foreign Minister, Hekmat Khalil Karzai click here