Mumbai: Launched on November 2nd, 2011 in Istanbul, Turkey, the Heart of Asia-Istanbul initiative was floated with an aim to encourage and build security, political and economic cooperation between war-ravaged Afghanistan and its neighbours.
The initiative believes that resurrection of war-torn Afghanistan is vital to the prosperity of the region.
As many as 30 countries have extended support to this noble initiative that has been founded to restore normalcy in Afghanistan and help the nation rebuild itself.
The participating countries include – India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, China, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and the United Arab Emirates. The initiative has been supported by Australia, Canada, Denmark, Egypt, France, Finland, Germany, Iraq, Italy, Japan, Norway, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Britain and the US.
India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who has represented India in 2015, wouldn’t be able to attend the event this year.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will lead the Indian delegation at the two-day Heart of Asia conference beginning Saturday which will be attended by over 30 countries including China, the US, Russia, Iran and Pakistan.
The main conference will be inaugurated jointly by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on December 4. Afghanistan is the permanent chair of HoA while India is its co-chair this year being the host.
The ministerial conference will be co-chaired by Jaitley and the Afghan Foreign Minister, Gopal Baglay, who heads the PAI (Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran) division in Ministry of External Affairs, told reporters.