2-day Heart of Asia Istanbul Process Conference begins today

The Indian delegation will be led by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in the absence of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who is ill.

Describing terrorism as a constant threat, especially to India and Afghanistan, which is a creation of this region, Afghanistan Ambassador to India Dr. Shaida Abdalion said on Wednesday that Kabul expects the Heart of Asia will approve and adopt the Regional Counterterrorism Framework drafted by Afghanistan.

Pakistan and India had held a meeting here at the last Heart of Asia ministerial conference and agreed to start a "Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue" that was to cover all outstanding issues.

Pakistani High Commissioner to New Delhi Abdul Basit said "Pakistan is not begging India to kick off with the dialogue, if India is not ready or willing then "we will wait".

Terrorism, trade and defence assistance will be on the top of the agenda as Prime Minister Narendra Modi meets Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani here this weekend, which will also see a fresh focus on India's plans to develop the Chabahar port in Iran for trade to Afghanistan.

Aziz had earlier said in Islamabad: "India sabotaged Saarc, but Pakistan would not do the same".

Sartaj Aziz is set to represent Pakistan at the ministerial conference on December 4. Aziz is arriving in India on Sunday.

Afghanistan is angry at Pakistan's continued refusal to allow India overland access to their country.

Peace and security in Afghanistan, and connectivity, have been the twin themes of the Heart of Asia process. Pakistan would not want to lose such an opportunity to berate India on what it terms as gross violation of human rights of Kashmiris by the Indian armed forces, diplomatic sources told BusinessLine requesting anonymity.

It will remind the world that as they gather in Amritsar, a city that sits on the now infamous GT Road, Pakistan remains a major obstacle in their dream to reconnect and rebuild Afghanistan with rest of South Asia.

India's pact with Iran to develop the Chahbahar port, and an IRCON rail link between Chahbahar and the Afghan border, will give India an alternate route to Afghanistan and central Asia. "The appointment of a new Army chief is an internal matter of Pakistan".

The declaration also committed member countries to "deny terrorists access to financial and material resources, to dismantle their sanctuaries and training facilities and to curtail their ability to recruit new terrorists".

He also said the presence of Indian troops' at large scale is a hurdle in implementation of the United Nations resolution.