Sushma Swaraj Meets Afghan President Ghani in Heart of Asia Summit

EAM Sushma Swaraj meets Afghan Presidnt Ashraf Ghani, and Foreign Ministers of Kyrgyzstan and Iran.

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External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj called on Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on the sidelines of ‘Heart of Asia’ – fifth edition of the regional conference of Asian countries.

The two discussed connectivity between Afghanistan and India, terror threats to the war-torn country, and the peace and reconciliation processes.

Swaraj was accompanied by Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar and India’s envoys to Pakistan and Afghanistan.

During the ‘Heart of Asia’ Conference, the two also talked about India’s willingness to join the Afghanistan-Pakistan trade and transit agreement.

The two sides also spoke about the long-pending Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline.

Next week, Indian Vice-President Hamid Ansari, along with Ghani, will attend the ground-breaking ceremony of the TAPI pipeline in Turkmenistan.

They reviewed bilateral ties including transit. Discussed terror threat in Afghanistan and status of peace and reconciliation process. 
Vikas Swarup, Spokesperson, External Affairs Ministry

Earlier, while speaking at the Heart of Asia Conference, Swaraj expressed India’s willingness to help Afghanistan in shoring up its defence capability.

She also said India’s vision of the Istanbul process is one of interlinked trade, transit, energy and communication routes, with Afghanistan as an important hub.

Swaraj also held bilateral meetings with Kyrgyzstan Foreign Minister Erlan Abdyldaev and her Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif.

Swaraj personally thanked for the release of Indian crew members of a ship.

Zarif, in turn expects India to release Iranian sailors lodged in Indian jails.

According to reports, there are about 11 Iranians lodged in the jails in the country.

Swaraj assured Zarif that Indian officials will examine and expedite the process.

The two sides also discussed operationalisation of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed for the Chabahar port which was inked earlier between the two countries.

Zarif also talked about the joint action plan after the announcement of lifting of sanctions by some countries against Iran.

(With inputs from PTI.)

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