Khurshid to attend Almaty meet on Afghanistan

New Delhi, April 23 (IANS) External Affairs Minister will travel to Almaty, Kazakhstan, to participate in the April 26 Heart of Asia ministerial conference on the Istanbul Process on regional security and cooperation for a secure and stable Afghanistan, an official said Tuesday.

The 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.

The CBMs will be discussed and there are plans for them to be considered, said Indian external affairs ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin here.

The conference is in the context of actions of regional organisations to ensure there is no overlap and duplication of their activities, he added.

The participating countries include Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, China, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, the United Arab Emirates and Uzbekistan.

The Istanbul Process was established in November 2011 with the initiative of Turkey and Afghanistan.

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