New Delhi, Dec 3: The annual Heart of Asia Summit got underway in Amritsar Punjab today. Being attended by representatives from 40 countries the summit will explore ways to effectively deal with the threat of terrorism in the region.
The summit will deliberate ways to find solutions to the challenges in Afghanistan.
Today, senior officials of all 14 countries, including India, China, Russia, Iran and Pakistan, and representatives of 17 supporting nations were deliberating on a vast range of issues facing the region including its complex security scenario and dealing with threat of terrorism, radicalization and extremism.
Issues like enhancing Afghanistan's connectivity with South and Central Asian countries to boost trade were being discussed at the senior officials' meeting which was co-chaired by India's Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar and Deputy Foreign Minister of Afghanistan Hikmat Khaleel Karzai.
The meeting is finalising the text for tomorrow's Ministerial Conference and is also deliberating on its Declaration which will have substantial portion on terrorism.
Pakistani Prime Minister's Foreign Affairs Advisor Sartaj Aziz is representing Islamabad at the Ministerial conference on Sunday which will be jointly inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.
The annual conference is taking place amid heightened tension between India and Pakistan in the wake of the audacious terror attack on Nagrota army base and there was no clarity on an Indo-Pak bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the conclave.
India had already made it clear that it would never accept continuing cross-border terrorism as the "new normal" in bilateral ties with Pakistan while making it clear that talks cannot take place in an atmosphere of "continued terror".
At the senior officials' meeting, Afghanistan, which has also been facing increased attacks from terror groups operating from Pakistan, pushed for a regional counter-terror framework.
Ahead of the conference, both India and Afghanistan had called terror emanating from Pakistan as the "greatest threat" to regional peace and stability, and both the countries are set to press hard for adopting the counter-terror framework at tomorrow's deliberations.