VK Singh in China to attend key conference on Afghanistan

Minister of State for External Affairs, VK Singh, arrived in the Chinese capital on Thursday to take part in a key international conference on Afghanistan tomorrow which would focus on the war-torn country's future as US troops prepare to withdraw after nearly 13 years of war.

PTI| Last Updated: Oct 30, 2014, 20:31 PM IST

Beijing: Minister of State for External Affairs, VK Singh, arrived in the Chinese capital on Thursday to take part in a key international conference on Afghanistan tomorrow which would focus on the war-torn country's future as US troops prepare to withdraw after nearly 13 years of war.

Singh, the former army chief, will attend the conference here and will also meet Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on the sidelines, officials here told PTI.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani will attend the Fourth Foreign Ministerial Conference of the Istanbul Process on Afghanistan, which focusses on the future of the country in the backdrop of plans by US and NATO troops to withdraw from there.

China is concerned over the return of Taliban and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan after US troops withdraw as it could have a larger impact on the border province of Xinjiang which is experiencing recurring violence over unrest between Muslim Uygurs and ethnic Han Chinese.

Chinese officials say a large number of Uygur militants are being trained in Afghanistan and Pakistan's tribal areas.

Foreign ministers or representatives from 14 member countries of the process, 16 other countries, 12 supporting international and regional organisations, and four countries and organisations with chairmanship will attend tomorrow's meeting, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said.

Ghani is already in China on his first state visit abroad after assuming office as president last month.

The meeting is of great significance as it is the first time China is hosting a major international conference on Afghanistan and also the first such meet since the formation of the new Afghan government, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told a media briefing here.