The Heart of Asia – Istanbul Process Meet

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The eighth meeting of the Regional Technical Group of Confidence Building Measure on Trade, Commerce & Investment Opportunities under the Heart of Asia – Istanbul Process was hosted by India, as the Lead Country, in New Delhi.

The meeting was attended by representatives of 17 participating countries and supporting international organisations, including Azerbaijan, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, UAE, Australia, Egypt, Germany, the UK, the US, the EU and the UN.

The participants shared the view that Afghanistan acted as a natural bridge in promoting regional connectivity and economic integration. There was consensus that economic development was an important factor in ensuring peace and stability in Afghanistan and the Heart of Asia Region. In this context, the participants shared views on various measures and steps to promote transit and trade and realizing reliable and robust connectivity, with Afghanistan as the hub.

This included the recognition of the need to make the existing transit and trade agreements more inclusive and comprehensive by expanding them both northwards and southwards to connect South Asia with Central Asia; strengthening growth of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and involvement of women in economic development, including through women entrepreneurship; and simplifying customs procedures.

The initiative by India to develop a web portal, with participation of FICCI, for exchanging information on regional markets, trade and investment opportunities; and facilitating networking between businesses for the participating countries was appreciated.

Istanbul Process:

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.

This region-led dialogue was launched to expand practical coordination between Afghanistan and its neighbors and regional partners in facing common threats, including counterterrorism, counternarcotics, poverty, and extremism.

Member Countries:
Afghanistan (Permanent Chair)
Azerbaijan
China
India
Iran
Kazakhstan
Kyrgyzstan
Pakistan
Russia
Saudi Arabia
Tajikistan
Turkey
Turkmenistan
United Arab Emirates

Previously, the 6th Ministerial Conference of Heart of Asia summit was held in Amritsar, India, from December 3 to December 4, 2016. ‘Amritsar Declaration’ was adopted during the meet.

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