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The 7th Heart of Asia conference – Istanbul process to be held in Amritsar, India

  1. The conference is focused on restoring stability and ensuring development in Afghanistan and was conceived in 2011 in Istanbul,Turkey and therefore is also known as Istanbul process
  2. After US Special Forces were set to withdraw from Afghanistan in 2014 after a long decade war, there was a fear that this may push the country back into chaos, tribal clashes and power might slip back into Taliban hands.
  3. The ‘Golden Crescent ‘ in which Afghanistan lies is already infamous for terrorism, narcotics, extremism and extreme poverty.
  4. To combat these, the countries conceived the conference, which would provide a common platform for all the stakeholders in the region including India to discuss and take preventive and remedial measures.
  5. The recent, 7th summit is to be held on 4th December, 2016 in Amritsar, India
  6. India is going to hold second such summit in a year with the last being in New Delhi in April 2016.
  7. Interestingly, showing maturity, Pakistan has also announced its presence in the conference. (Surgical strikes seems to have worked!)
  8. This announcement holds significance after India cancelled its participation in SAARC summit held in Islamabad few weeks ago.
  9. India-Afghanistan relations are deepening day by day and the stability in the Central Asian region in general and Afghanistan in particular is a key to India’s stability. Moreover when the Spread of ISIS looms large in such unstable countries, India can’t ignore Afghanistan.
  10. India is also a member of Shanghai Cooperation organization (SCO) which provides another platform to discuss the regional issues.
  11. PM Narendra Modi has recently visited Herat (a place in Afghanistan) and inaugurated Salma dam, showcasing Indo-Afghan friendship.
  12. Indo-Afghan relations need a continuous boost through such projects and India should extend the benefits under ‘Gujaral Doctrine’ to Afghanistan as well.
  13. India-Afghanistan have been friendly nations since decades and should work continuously in the same direction.
  14. India can never forget the contribution of Bharat Ratna Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan, also called the frontier Gandhi and a close friend of Gandhi ji, to the Indian freedom struggle.
  15. India salutes the great man. Jai Hind! Jai Afghan!