1. Live Breaking News Headlines Update: Need to show collective spirit against terrorism: PM Narendra Modi at Heart of Asia Ministerial Conference

Live Breaking News Headlines Update: Need to show collective spirit against terrorism: PM Narendra Modi at Heart of Asia Ministerial Conference

Today is the final day of two-day 'Heart of Asia conference is beginning in Amritsar from today.

By: | New Delhi | Updated: December 4, 2016 5:56 PM
Live Breaking News Headlines Update: PM Narendra Modi, Ashraf Ghani with other delegates at Heart of Asia Ministerial Conference (MEA twitter) Live Breaking News Headlines Update: PM Narendra Modi, Ashraf Ghani with other delegates at Heart of Asia Ministerial Conference (MEA twitter)

Today is the final day of two-day ‘Heart of Asia conference being held in Amritsar. During the first two session in Saturday, senior officials from different countries are scheduled to deliberate on different issues concerning the region. This is being held on the backdrop of Nagrota attack in which seven Indian Army personnel. The annual conference which is being held to help Afghanistan during its transition period  will focus on the threat from terror outfits. Both India and Afghanistan, being common victims of terror attacks feel that a proper system to counter terrorism must be set up to restore stability in the region. After the end of the conference, a declaration is expected to be issued which could focus on ways to deal with terrorism. With India facing Uri, Pulwama and Nagrota terror attacks in recent past, all originating from Pakistan, it is expected to ask countries in the region to show strong resolve in the fight against terrorism. Afghanistan also feels that collective steps must be taken to fight terrorism. Sartaj Aziz, an adviser to Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, is leading the Pakistani delegation at the event. However, the bilateral talks between India and Pakistan is unlikely to be held. Delegates from nearly 40 countries will participate in the event. The main conference will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra  Modi and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, while Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will lead the Indian delegation in place External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who is not well. For live updates, see below:

05:40 PM: Officials spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs of India, Vikas Swaroop said there was no pull aside or bilateral talk between Pakistan Prime Minister’s Advisor Sartaj Aziz and India Prime Minister’s National Security Advisor Ajit Doval.

05:30 PM: We recognise the necessity of taking serious measures to address recruitment of youth to extremist  and terrorist networks: Amritsar Declaration

05:10 PM: Heart of Asia Declaration recognises terrorism as the biggest threat to peace and demands immediate end to all forms of terrorism, says Finance Minister Arun Jaitley at the conference.

04:30 PM: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley called signing of trilateral transit and transport agreement between India, Iran and Afghanistan, an achievement.

03:40 PM: Iran Foreign Minister Zarif Khonsari visited the Golden Temple in Amritsar on his trip to India to attend Heart of Asia conference. Interacting with reporters he said his country was ready to work with its friends in India and Pakistan.

02:55 PM: Pakistan is building its national rail and energy transmission network to meet with growing regional transport needs, says Sartaj Aziz.

12.17 PM: Let us re-dedicate ourselves to making Afghanistan a Geography of Peace

12.06 pm: Terrorism and externally induced instability pose the gravest threat too Afghanistan’s peace, stability and prosperity: PM Modi

12.05 pm: On India’s part, our commitment to our brave Afghan brothers and sisters is absolute and unwavering: PM Modi

12. 03 pm: We should all work to build stronger positive connectivity between Afghanistan and other countries of the region: PM Modi

12.03 pm: Countries not only support, but financing and training terrorist intitutions: PM Modi

12.01 pm: Need to show collective spirit against terrorism: PM Modi

11.59 am: Peace, stability of entire region at stake: PM Modi

11.57 am: Punjab and Afghanistan have deep cultural ties: PM Modi

11.53 AM Modi thanks Ghani for attending Heart of Asia Ministerial Confrence

11.48AM: PM Modi speaks at Heart of Asia Ministerial Conference

11.47 AM: Need to jointly work for counter terrorism in the region: Ghani

11.42 AM:  HeartofAsia is meeting at time of great opportunity in significant threats for Afghanistan for Asia-wide & global implications: Ghani

11.37 AM: Afghanistan thanks Obama, Turkey: Ghani

11.36 AM: India support Afganistan uncoditionaly: Ghani

11.34 AM: Chabbar port a major step in transforming Afganistan

11.32 AM:  I thank India for their warm welcome and visit to Golden temple: Ghani

11.30 AM: Afghan President Ashraf Ghani speaks at Heart of Asia summit.

11.25 AM FM Arun Jaitley welcomes delegates at #HeartofAsia summit in Amritsar

11.20 AM: PM Narendra Modi arrives at Amritsar, to address ministerial conference soon.

11.10 AM: Heart of Asia Conference to help India gain access to Central Asian markets: Former envoy. India’s former Ambassador to Afghanistan Gautam Mukhopadhyay has said that one of the key takeaways for New Delhi from the Heart of Asia Conference would be unbridled market access to Central Asian and Afghanistan markets, and added that the conference will give a boost to regional cooperation between participating nations.

11.20 AM: Heart of Asia Summit begins

11.15 AM: Amritsar: PM Narendra Modi holds bilateral talks with Afghan President Dr.Ashraf Ghani #HeartofAsia

10. 30 AM: PM Narendra Modi, Sartaj Aziz exchange greetings at Heart of Asia Summit, reports CNN News 18.

10.29 AM: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani will jointly inaugurate the sixth Heart of Asia Ministerial Conference in Amritsar today. The Conference will discuss peace, cooperation and economic development in Afghanistan.

10:30PM: Speaking to the media, during The Heart of Asia Conference, former Ambassador to Afghanistan, Gautam Mukhopadhyay said that the Istanbul Process focuses on the regional security and cooperation. He also spoke about how terrorism has affected the possibility of regional cooperation and economic and social development of Afghanistan.

09:15 PM: Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani described the Golden Temple as “a wonder of imagination” in the temple’s visitors’ book. PM Narendra Modi also wrote a note in it after visiting the temple with President Ghani and other ministers.

08:40 PM: PM Narendra Modi and Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani alo0ng with other ministers offered prayer at the Golden Temple in Amritsar.

08:30 PM: PM Narendra Modi served food in ‘langar’ at the Golden Temple in Amritsar.

08:15 PM: PM Narendra Modi and Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani met at the Golden Temple in Amritsar. Both the leaders hugged each other on the occasion.

07:50 PM: Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani arrives in Amritsar for the conference

07:25 PM: Sartaj Aziz arrives Amritsar for sixth ministerial Heart of Asia Conference

06:15 PM: PM Narendra Modi arrived Amritsar for the conference.

5:05 PM: Sartaj Aziz along with other Heart of Asia delegates likely to attend dinner in Amritsar; PM Narendra Modi will also be present. However, according to NDTV, both leaders may not have bilateral talks.

4:40 PM: Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif says that some think terrorists will kill each other in battlefield of Syria, the thinking of which doesn’t work. Stressing that terrorists activities are politically motivated and nothing to do with god, he added that India & Iran are working together to help Afghanistan on its fundamental problems.

4:15 PM: Delegates, who have come in Amritsar for ‘Heart of Asia’ conference visit Golden temple.

3:50 PM: Last minute change by Pakistan.  Sartaj Aziz to reach for the conference today, instead of tomorrow, which was earlier planned.

3:05 PM:  Parents of Indian national Hamid Ansari, who is in Pakistan prison , will seek to meet Pakistani Foreign Affairs Advisor Sartaj Aziz during the conference. Mumbai-based Fauzia Ansari and her husband Nihal are in Amritsar carrying several placards with the hope of getting back their son, who has already completed his jail term.

1:21 PM: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani are sheduled to reach today evening to take part in the conference. They will hold bilateral talks to strengthen India-Afghanistan ties.

12:55 PM: Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal to promote the state as a tourist destination at the Heart of Asia conference. Badal is keen to promote state’s cultur before delegates from different countries and one centre of attraction is the Heritage Street running from Town Hall building to the Golden Temple Plaza in Amritsar.

1:10 PM: The conference, will also deliberate on major connectivity initiatives including Chabahar project. There may also be deliberations on TAPI (Turkmenistan–Afghanistan-Pakistan–India) pipeline project.

12:25 PM: The Heart of Asia conference is being held in India for the first time. Last year it was in Pakistan, where External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj took part. Amritsar has been chosen as the venue as the city is connecting point of Asian countries and is also close to Afghanistan.

12:02 PM: Senior officials also discussed issues like enhancing Afghanistan’s connectivity with South and Central Asian countries to boost trade at the meeting, which was co-chaired by India’s Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar and Deputy Foreign Minister of Afghanistan Hikmat Khaleel Karzai.

11:35 AM: Senior officials of all 14 countries, including India, China, Russia, Iran and Pakistan, and representatives of 17 supporting nations are deliberating on a vast range of issues including the region’s complex security scenario and dealing with the threat of terrorism.

11:01 AM: Heart of Asia conference is the opportunity for US & other countries attending to discuss commitment to stable and peaceful Afghanistan, says US Special Representative.

10:51 AM: We are pleased that India is hosting this year’s Heart of Asia Conference, says US Special Representative.

1O:50 AM: Senior officials of participating countries hold talks before the ministerial meet during the Heart of Asia conference.

10:30 AM : Foreign secretaries of different countries will have deliberations today, while Ministers will attend the conference tomorrow. During discussions, issues, like eliminating terrorism in South Asia and improving connectivity in Afghanistan, are likely to dominate the discussions.

9:29 AM: Pakistan Ambassador to Afghanistan Abrar Hussain will participate in the official level talks today.

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