India, Afghanistan Hold Bilateral Talks Ahead of Heart of Asia

India hosts Heart of Asia Conference for the first time, which aims to promote peace in Afghanistan.

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Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar (right) meets Afghan counterpart Hekmat Karzai ahead of Heart of Asia Conference on Tuesday, 26 April 2016. ( Photo Courtesy: <a href=""></a>)

Ahead of the Heart of Asia conference , Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar held a bilateral meeting with Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister Hekmat Karzai on Tuesday.

The conference aimed at bringing peace and stability to Afghanistan, now in its sixth year, is being hosted by India for the first time.

There are 17 supporting countries – Australia, Canada, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Iraq, Japan, Norway, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Britain, the US and nations part of the European Union (EU) – as well as 11 regional and international organisations supporting this process, including the UN, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), and the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).

The meeting came ahead of the much-anticipated bilateral meeting between Jaishankar and Pakistani Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry.

Apart from India, the Heart of Asia initiative involves 13 other countries – Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, China, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and the United Arab Emirates.

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