Identifying terror emanating from Pakistan as the "greatest threat" to regional peace and stability, India and Afghanistan today said setting up an effective counter-terror framework to deal with the challenge will be a major focus at the two-day Heart of Asia conference beginning Saturday.
Being held in the wake of the brazen Nagrota terror attack, the annual conference of the Heart of Asia Istanbul Process, a platform to assist Afghanistan in its transition, will extensively deliberate on threat from terror networks operating from Pakistani soil and may push for some concrete action to deal with it.
The conference will be attended by representatives from over 30 countries including China, the US, Russia, Pakistan and Iran. Pakistan Prime Minister's Foreign Affairs Advisor Sartaj Aziz will represent Islamabad at the conference.
Asked during a briefing on Pakistan's willingness for a bilateral meeting with India on the sidelines of the conference, Joint Secretary in the MEA Gopal Baglay said,"We have not received any request for a bilateral meeting."
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani will jointly inaugurate the ministerial deliberations on Sunday where Indian delegation will be led by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley as External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is ill.
"Terrorism is the biggest challenge which has beset the whole region. It (terror) is responsible for the situation in Afghanistan. It is a major threat to regional peace and stability.
"We have to discuss this question and we have to face it very squarely. I think the HoA Ministerial conference provides us with the opportunity required to face the challenge head on," Baglay said addressing a joint press conference with Afghan Envoy Shaida M Abdali.
On his part, the Afghan envoy said there was a need to take collective measures to fight terrorism and uproot the "breeding ground" of the menace and its "safe sanctuaries", in obvious reference to Pakistan.
"Terrorism is the greatest threat to the region and we expect the HoA to approve the regional counter terrorism framework that has been drafted by Afghanistan and circulated to HoA countries. We hope the conference will adopt it," he said, strongly condemning the Nagrota attack.
Abdali said Afghanistan was pushing for "binding" clauses in the framework to effectively contain terror infrastructure. He said terrorism is a multifaceted phenomena which requires a "multifaceted approach" and should include dismantling the "terror matrix", tackling drug trafficking and effectively dealing with radicalisation.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)