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External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar will attend the 9th Ministerial Conference of Heart of Asia - Istanbul Process on Afghanistan today at Dushanbe in Tajikistan. Dr Jaishankar reached Dushanbe yesterday on a three day visit. He called on President of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani before the commencement of Heart of Asia Conference. Mr Ghani and Dr Jaishankar shared the perspectives on the peace process.
 
As the lead country for Trade, Commerce and Investment Confidence Building Measure under Heart of Asia - Istanbul Process, India has made concerted efforts for strengthening regional connectivity for the greater economic integration of Afghanistan with the region. A dedicated Air Freight Corridor between cities of India and Afghanistan and operationalisation of Chabahar Port in Iran are steps in that direction. 

India, as an important stakeholder for peace, prosperity and stability in Afghanistan has played a constructive role in the international processes on Afghanistan. India has engaged regional and international stakeholders on Afghanistan. The visit will further enhance the outreach to Central Asian countries with a special focus on Afghanistan.
 
Dr Jaishankar began his Heart of Asia engagements with a meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif. The External Affairs Minister said, the warm conversation underlined the convergences. Both leaders also discussed the bilateral cooperation including Chabahar.
 
Dr Jaishankar also met Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu on the sidelines of the Conference. The discussions focused on Afghanistan-related developments and on the India-Turkey bilateral relations.
 
During the visit, the External Affairs Minister will have discussions with his Tajik counterpart covering all aspects of the bilateral relations as well as regional and international issues of mutual interest. He is also scheduled to call on President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon. He is also expected to meet other Tajik Ministers and dignitaries.
 
After arriving in Dushanbe yesterday, Dr Jaishankar visited the Dushanbe-Chortut Highway Project site. He lauded the Good work being done by Border Roads Organisation BRO under Indian grant assistance. The 8-lane highway will decongest Dushanbe. 



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