External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup confirmed that a formal invitation has been received for the ‘Heart of Asia’ conference on Afghanistan that will take place in Islamabad on December 7 and 8.
India is undecided on whether External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will participate at the ‘Heart of Asia’ conference for which host Pakistan has invited her, it was officially said in New Delhi on Thursday. External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup confirmed that a formal invitation has been received for the ‘Heart of Asia’ conference on Afghanistan that will take place in Islamabad on December 7 and 8. But added that “We are yet to decide on the level of our participation.” The pros and cons of Pakistan’s invitation are being weighed with one view being that Swaraj should attend the conference given India’s strategic interest in Afghanistan and any low-level participation to the ministerial meet may not be good.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>However, a counter view to this was that Swaraj’s travel may undermine India’s concerns over terror emanating from Pakistan and she may have to hold a bilateral meeting with her Pakistani counterpart Sartaj Aziz which is not how India wants to sequence its interactions with that country. Swarup also made it clear that India was “more than willing” to start the process that was agreed in Ufa between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif. Under the Ufa understanding, the next meeting should be between the National Security Advisors of the two countries on all issues pertaining to terror.Asked about Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit’s remarks on Wednesday that unilateralism and preconditions were a recipe for gridlock in relations and his assertion that “aspirations of Kashmiris can neither be ignored nor suppressed”, Swarup said there was nothing new in the comments.
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