- The 6th Ministerial Conference on Heart of Asia-Istanbul process of Afghanistan adopted the Amritsar declaration to focus on concerned countries to address terrorism and enhance regional economic cooperation.
- The major issues of discussion were countering of terrorism to stabilise Afghanistan and providing connectivity to Afghanistan to strengthen economic activities and help the development process.
Highlights of the declaration:
- The declaration reaffirms the commitment to the United Nations Charter and its enshrined principles of sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity, sovereign equality of nations and non-intervention in the internal affairs of other states as well as universally recognized principles and norms of international law.
- This declaration also reaffirms commitment to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and reiterates the importance of increased political dialogue and consultations between countries of the Heart of Asia region for a stable, peaceful and prosperous region.
- Always remain committed to resolving our differences peacefully, and refraining from threat or use of force against the political independence, territorial integrity, or sovereignty of any state.
- Always work towards regional consensus on non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries, which is critically important for good neighbourliness between countries of the region, and for peaceful coexistence as independent and sovereign nations, and re-affirm our commitment to these principles.
- Stress the need for advancing regional cooperation as an effective means to address common challenges and to promote security, stability and socio-economic development in the Heart of Asia region.
- To reaffirm appreciation and express strong and unequivocal support for the ongoing constructive efforts of the Government of Afghanistan towards regional engagement and its commitment to
- There is a concern regarding the gravity of the security situation in Afghanistan in particular and the region and the high level of violence caused by the Taliban, terrorist groups including ISIL / DAISHand its affiliates, the Haqqani Network, Al Qaida, Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, East Turkistan Islamic Movement, Lashkare-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, TTP, Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, Jundullah and other foreign terrorist fighters.
- The declaration recognises terrorism as the biggest threat to peace and security. And demands immediate end to all forms of terrorism and all support financial and safe havens providing sanctuary to it.
- The declaration states the urgency to respond to the nexus between drug menace and its financial support for terrorist entities in Afghanistan.
- It also calls for early finalisation of the draft comprehensive convention on international terrorism. It also looks at the early meeting of experts to discuss a draft regional counter terrorism framework strategy, recently prepared by Afghanistan for its early finalisation.
- The declaration states the welcoming of the agreements between the international community and Afghanistan for continued financial support to the Afghanistan National Defence and Security Forces (ANDSF) until 2020.
- The declaration welcomes the MOU on Jointly Building the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road between China and Afghanistan.
- The declaration also expressed serious concern about opium, the base material for production of heroin in Afghanistan, a large chunk of which eventually finds its way into India through Indo-Pak international border in Punjab.
About Heart of Asia:
- The Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process (HoA) was founded on November 2nd, 2011 in Istanbul, Turkey.
- The Heart of Asia provides a platform for sincere and results-oriented regional cooperation by placing Afghanistan at its center, in recognition of the fact that a secure and stable Afghanistan is vital to the prosperity of the Heart of Asia region.
- This platform was established to address the shared challenges and interests of Afghanistan and its neighbors and regional partners.
- The Heart of Asia is comprised of 14 participating countries, 17 supporting countries, and 12 supporting regional and international organizations.
- The Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process has three main pillars, which work together to build regional consensus on how we can achieve our shared goals.
- They include: a) Political Consultations; b) Confidence Building Measures (CBMs); c) Cooperation with Regional Organizations