Heart of Asia- Istanbul process was established in 2011 to serve as platform to discuss commonly faced regional issues as counter-terrorism, counter-narcotics, poverty, and extremism and also particularly to encourage security, political, and economic cooperation among Afghanistan and its neighbors.
• It articulates a set of principles, such as respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, and promoting cooperation in the areas of common challenges and shared interests in the region
• It provides a platform for discussing key regional issues among participating states
• To devise a sustained, incremental approach to implementation of the confidence building measures (CBM) in Afghanistan so as to shore up economic growth of Afghanistan.
• As security is an important concern in Afghanistan the platform aims to promote stability in Afghanistan.
Following are the outcomes of recently held 6th Ministerial Conference of the Heart of Asia- Istanbul Process-Amritsar declaration:
• Combating Terrorism: It calls for dismantling of terrorist sanctuaries and safe heavens in the region as well as disrupting all financial, tactical and logistical support for terror networks. Countries recognized the need for effective de-radicalisation of youth.
• Early finalization of the draft comprehensive convention on international terrorism: Also favoured early meeting of experts to draft regional counter-terrorism framework.
• Dealing drug menace: Declaration highlights the urgency to respond to the nexus between drug menace and its financial support for terrorist entities in Afghanistan.
• Jointly Building the Silk Road Economic Belt (OBOR): Afghanistan and China on jointly building OBOR is welcomed
• Focus on the cultural heritage of the region to drive economic and social development.
• Collaboration on economic transition: Countries agreed to closely collaborate on removing non-tariff trade barriers and implementation of bilateral and multilateral regional transit trade framework agreements.
• Regional connectivity: Efforts as TAPI, Asia International Railway corridor were welcomed.
Afghanistan which is in political and economic transition plays crucial role as a land bridge in promoting regional connectivity and economic connectivity in the Heart of Asia. Hence, this Amritsar declaration offers another chance at peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan.