S Jaishankar to attend Heart of Asia conference in Tajikistan today

S Jaishankar to attend Heart of Asia conference in Tajikistan today

DUSHANBE: During his three-day visit to Tajikistan, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar will attend the ninth Ministerial Conference of Heart of Asia – Istanbul Process (HoA-IP) on Afghanistan in Dushanbe on Tuesday.

Jaishankar will attend the conference at the joint invitation of his counterparts from Afghanistan and Tajikistan. He is expected to meet leaders of other participating countries on the sidelines, according to a March 26 statement from the external affairs ministry.
The conference, being hosted in Tajikistan, is focused on strengthening a regional and international consensus for Afghan peace.

However, the highly-anticipated meeting between Indian and Pakistani foreign ministers has not been scheduled so far. Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, who departed for participation in the conference Monday, had told Dawn that “no meeting has been finalised or requested”.

The development comes in the backdrop of understanding the resumption of the 2003 ceasefire between Pakistan and India, reached at the end of February and the meeting held on Indus water sharing after a gap of two years.

On Monday, Jaishankar met Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani and held a discussion on the Afghan peace process. “Honour to call on President @ashrafghani before the commencement of @HeartofAsia_IP Conference. Shared our perspectives on the peace process,” Jaishankar tweeted.

According to the MEA, the minister had earlier visited Dushanbe in June 2019 to attend the fifth Summit of Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia. The ongoing visit is in continuation of the frequent high-level exchanges between the two countries that will further strengthen the close strategic partnership between India and Tajikistan.

Last week, Afghan Foreign Minister Haneef Atmar visited India and held-back-to-back talks with Jaishankar and NSA Ajit Doval.

In New Delhi, during the meeting of the Afghan Foreign Minister with Jaishankar on the peace process, the two sides reviewed the Troika Peace Meeting in Moscow and assessed the final declaration of the meeting as positive for strengthening and advancing the peace process.

During the meeting with NSA, both discussed the peace plan of the Afghanistan government for the success of Afghanistan peace negotiations. Recently, it was reported that the US is reviewing the Doha agreement with the Taliban while also keeping all options on the table when it comes to the May 1st deadline for withdrawal from Afghanistan.

The Doha agreement was signed in February 2020 between the Taliban and United States with an aim to end the 18-year old conflict in Afghanistan. The agreement calls for a full US withdrawal from Afghanistan if the terror group upholds counterterrorism commitments such as denying safe haven to al Qaeda.

Meanwhile, the Taliban warned the United States on Friday against defying a May 1 deadline for the withdrawal of US and NATO troops from Afghanistan, promising a “reaction” though failing to specify exactly what it would be. (ANI)