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Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will lead the Indian delegation at the two-day Heart of Asia (HoA) conference beginning Saturday which will be participated by over 30 countries including China, the US, Russia, Iran and Pakistan. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who is unwell, will not attend the meet. The main conference will be inaugurated jointly by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on December 4.
Afghanistan is the permanent chair of HoA, while India is its co-chair this year being the host.The ministerial conference will be co-chaired by Jaitley and the Afghan Foreign Minister, Gopal Baglay, who heads the PAI (Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran) division in Ministry of External Affairs, told reporters. Swaraj is undergoing treatment for kidney failure and the MEA last week had announced that she will not attend the meet. The HoA platform was floated with an aim to encourage security, political and economic cooperation between Afghanistan and its neighbours.