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Heart of Asia: PM holds talks with Afghanistan PresidentAfghan President Ashraf Ghani holds talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday. ANI photo

Heart of Asia: PM holds talks with Afghanistan President

Pakistan's Sartaj Aziz meets Ghani04 Dec 2016 | 11:12 AM

AMRITSAR: Prime Minister Narendra Modi held talks with Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani at the Heart of Asia conference in Amritsar on Sunday. Eleven companies of paramilitary forces and more than 5,000 policemen have been deployed across the city for the conference.

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Amritsar, December 4

Prime Minister Narendra Modi held talks with Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani at the Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process conference in Amritsar on Sunday.

"Beginning together before the Heart of Asia Ministerial. PM Narendra Modi and President Ashraf Ghani hold an important bilateral meeting," Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Vikas Swarup said in a tweet.

They will inaugurate ministerial deliberations at the conference that will see participation of over eight foreign ministers and delegates of 14 participating countries. Eleven companies of paramilitary forces and more than 5,000 policemen have been deployed across the city for the conference.

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The six key areas on which the participating countries are focusing are disaster management, counter-terrorism, counter-narcotics, trade and investment, regional infrastructure and education.  

Also read: Aziz day early for Amritsar meet

Both India and Afghanistan are likely to corner Pakistan on terror emanating from its soil and may press for a counter-terror framework. The conference is taking place amid heightened tension between India and Pakistan.

Aziz meets Ghani

Pakistan Prime Minister's Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz also met Ghani on the sidelines of the conference for peace talks in the region.

Both arrived in the city on Saturday evening.

Afghanistan's ties with Pakistan have become strained after a series of violent attacks, several of them in the capital Kabul, that it said showed Pakistan had failed to rein in the militant groups operating from its soil.

Also among the countries participating in the conference are Azerbaijan, China, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and the United Arab Emirates.

India’s ties, already tense, with Pakistan have cooled further this year, first because of violent protests in Kashmir that lead to more than 80 people being killed and thousands injured, then due to series of militant attacks on Indian military installations as well as cross-border shelling along the Line of Control and the International Border. India accuses Pakistan of stoking unrest in Kashmir and of not doing enough to crackdown on terror networks operating on its soil.

Pakistan on the other hand calls itself a victim of terrorism and denies having any hand in the Kashmir unrest. It also accuses India of stirring trouble in its restive Balochistan.  — Agencies

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