Khurshid arrives in Almaty for Heart of Asia ministerial meet

New Delhi, April 25 (IANS) External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid Thursday arrived in the Kazakhstan capital of Almaty for the April 26 Heart of Asia ministerial conference on the Istanbul Process on regional security and cooperation for a secure and stable Afghanistan.

He was met by Kazakh Foreign Minister Erlan Idrissov in Almaty upon arrival.

An update of the Almaty talks between Iran and the P5+1 — the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany — held earlier in the month was discussed between them.

They also discussed the issues which are to be focused on during the Heart of Asia conference Ministerial Conference scheduled Friday, said informed sources.

They also reviewed bilateral relations including progress in the Strategic Partnership and Indian interest in the hydrocarbon sector, the source added.

The Heart of Asia meeting is the third ministerial-level meeting of the Istanbul Process and would see participation by 14 countries in the neighbourhood and 16 others.

It would see political consultations at the ministerial level and on various confidence building measures with international troops set for drawdown in Afghanistan next year.

Six CBMs were endorsed at the Kabul ministerial meeting last year, including on counter terrorism, counter narcotics, trade, commerce and investment opportunity and infrastructure and education.

India had taken the lead in helping promote trade and commerce in Afghanistan and held an investment conference in Delhi last June.

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