New Delhi | Swaraj said the 5th Ministerial Conference of the Heart of Asia Istanbul Process on December 8-9 in Islamabad was devoted to the themes of security and connectivity. The Conference provided to us an important opportunity on a vital regional platform for political constultations and regional cooperation to reiterate India’s commitment to Afghanistan’s stability and development and our faith in its future, she said.
The process, she said, brought together friends of Afghanistan from its immediate and extended neighbourhood as well as supporting countries and international organisations to promote political consultations and regional cooperation for a united, democractic, independent, strong and prosperous Afghanistan.
My visit to Islamabad underlined India’s strong commitment to that cause, she said, adding New Delhi at the conference sought full and direct transit for Afghanistan through Pakistan. In the context of relations between India and Pakistan, I advocated working together for peace and development in South Asia, with self-confidence and maturity, she said.
Swaraj said the beginning of Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue was announced in a joint statement following her meeting with Aziz in Islamabad on December 9. This decision of the Government follows the recent developments and engagements between the two countries, especially the constructive discussions between their National Security Advisors in Bangkok on December 6, 2015.
The meeting of the NSAs resulted from discussion between our Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Prime Miniter Nawaz Sharif in Paris on November 30, she said. The Minister said Prime Minister of Pakistan was invited in May 2014, among other SAARC leaders, by Modi to attend the swearing-in ceremony of the new Government.
This was a demonstration of our commitment to good neighbourly ties with Pakistan, in line with our vision for peace and development in the region through deeper regional integration in South Asia, she said. In their first meeting, India’s views on ties between the countries and its concerns on terrorism and violence were conveyed to the Pakistani authorities. The meetings as decided between the two sides in May 2014, however, did not take place, she said.
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