NEW DELHI: After getting isolated at SAARC and BRICS, Pakistan is set to face the heat from its neighbouring countries- namely India and Afghanistan- in the Heart of Asia (HoA) conference as
the two countries identified cross-border terrorism as the biggest threat to the region and are bracing it to take it “head on” at the Conference.
In an unprecedented show of strength, Afghanistan’s Ambassador Dr. Shaida Mohammad Abdali conducted a curtain raiser event with the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and started his interaction with the media with a condemnation of the audacious terror attack on Nagrota army base. Dr. Abdali, without naming Pakistan, stated that Terrorism cannot be countered unless the safe sanctuaries provided to
the terrorists are dismantled and that is imperative for reconstruction of the conflict-ravaged country.
MEA’s Joint Secretary (Pakistan, Afghanistan & Iran) Gopal Bagalay hoped that the two-day Conference to be held in Amritsar beginning December 3 would provide the opportunity to take the “challenge (of
terrorism) head on”. The conference will be attended by representatives of nearly 30 countries along with Advisor to Pakistan’s Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz.
Afghanistan and India will also be pushing for adoption of the Counter-Terrorism Framework that will have some “binding” clauses to clamp down on infrastructure supporting terror network in the region.
"Terrorism is the greatest threat to the region and we expect the HoA to approve the regional counter terrorism framework that has been drafted by Afghanistan and circulated to HoA countries. We hope
the conference will adopt it," Dr. Abdali said.
The Afghanistan Envoy also underlined that counter-terrorism requires a “multi-faceted” approach to dismantle the “terror matrix” involving safe sanctuaries, drug trafficking and radicalisation. Without
naming Pakistan, the Afghan Envoy said that the solution for menace of terrorism lies in the region from where it emanates. “Terror must be dealt with effectively not only for sake of countries like India
and Afghanistan but also for people in the country where terrorism is nurtured," Abdali said.
Strong language can be expected at the declaration to be issued at the end of the two-day conference that will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani and
will be deliberating on the twin issues of security and connectivity in relation to Afghanistan.
Afghanistan’s re-development has also been affected by its being land-locked and with Chabahar port and five-nation railway project making progress; the country is looking forward to better connectivity.
Recently Pakistan has blocked India’s wheat supply to Afghanistan and refused transit to fruits from Kabul intended for the Indian market. “Afghanistan no longer seeks but offers connectivity to countries in the
region,” Dr. Abdali said.
The Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process was launched in 2011 and the participating countries include Pakistan, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, China, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan,
Turkey, Turkmenistan and the United Arab Emirates. The countries which support the initiative are Australia, Canada, Denmark, Egypt, France, Finland, Germany, Iraq, Italy, Japan, Norway, Poland, Spain,
Sweden, Britain and the US. Four countries Uzbekistan, Latvia, Bulgaria and Austria are attending the conference as guests.