Heart of Asia Conference in Amritsar

The sixth two-day Heart of Asia (HoA) conference was held in Amritsar. The meeting was inaugurated by president of Afghanistan, Ashraf Ghani and Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, and co-chaired by Arun Jaitley, Finance Minister of India and Salahuddin Rabbani, minister of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan.

The 33-point Amritsar declaration was adopted at the end of this meet that focused on terrorism and extremism.

The participating countries called for strong action against terror groups involved in violence in the South Asian region.

14 countries, including Pakistan attended the meeting.

The declaration named terror groups such as Daesh, Al Qaeda, Taliban, Haqqani network, Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad and others for carrying out terrorist activities in the region. Of these, the Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Jaish-e-Mohammad mainly target India.

The major focus of this year’s conference was on helping Afghanistan during its transitional phase; by finalising a counter-terror framework and working on ways to restore peace in the war-torn country. Its theme was: Addressing Challenges, Achieving Prosperity.

Most participating countries view terrorism as the biggest obstacle to Afghanistan’s peace, stability and development.

The meet acknowledged that terrorism, radicalisation and sectarianism are the gravest challenges faced by the Heart of Asia region and the international community.

Unless tackled collectively, these issues would pose a severe threat to sovereignty, territorial integrity, economic development and bilateral and regional cooperation.

The participating countries called for serious measures to address recruitment of youth into extremist and terrorist networks by effective de-radicalisation strategies apart from a coherent approach.

Side Developments
1. India asserted financial aid to the tune of $1 billion to Afghanistan to improve infrastructure and fuel the socio-economic agendas of the later.
2. India and Afghanistan also went for a bilateral meeting and a roadmap for air corridor was agreed upon, which is likely boost trade between the two countries. Afghanistan depends on the Pakistani port of Karachi for its foreign trade. It is allowed to send a limited amount of goods overland through Pakistan into India, but imports from India are not allowed along this route.

The 7th Ministerial Conference will be held in Azerbaijan in the year 2017. Azerbaijan will be co-chairing the process.

Heart of Asia – Istanbul Process
Founded 2 Nov 2011 – Istanbul, Turkey
Type Intergovernmental organization (IGO)
Primary Objective Regional Security and Cooperation for a Secure and Stable Afghanistan and near and extended neighbours
Cooperation Directorate Kabul, Afghanistan
Ministerial Conferences
  • 1st: 2 November 2011,
    Istanbul, Turkey
  • 2nd: 14 June 2012,
    Kabul, Afghanistan
  • 3rd: 26 April 2013,
    Almaty, Kazakhstan
  • 4th: 31 October 2014,
    Beijing, China
  • 5th: 9 December 2015,
    Islamabad, Pakistan
  • 6th: 4th December 2016,
    Amritsar, India
Member Countries
  •  Afghanistan
  •  Azerbaijan
  •  China
  •  India
  •  Iran
  •  Kazakhstan
  •  Kyrgyzstan
  •  Pakistan
  •  Russia
  •  Saudi Arabia
  •  Tajikistan
  •  Turkey
  •  Turkmenistan
  •  United Arab Emirates