Sushma Swaraj leaves for Pakistan

New Delhi, Dec 8 (IANS) External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj left on Tuesday for Islamabad to attend the Heart of Asia Istanbul Process conference.

“EAM @sushmaswaraj emplanes for Pakistan to attend 5th Ministerial Conference on Heart of Asia Istanbul Process,” external affairs ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup tweeted.

This is the first ministerial visit from India to Pakistan since the visit of then external affairs minister S.M. Krishna in 2012.

Sushma Swaraj is expected to meet Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his Adivisor on Foreign Affairs, Sartaj Aziz, on the sidelines of the multilateral conference.

The Heart of Asia Istanbul Process was established in 2011 at the initiative of Afghanistan and Turkey.

The main objective of the process is to foster efforts for regional cooperation and connectivity with a view to promoting long-term peace and stability as well as progress and development in Afghanistan and the region.

The Fifth Ministerial Conference is expected to adopt a forward looking Islamabad Declaration entitled “Enhanced Cooperation for Countering Security Threats and Promoting Connectivity in the Heart of Asia Region”.

Swaraj’s visit comes following a meeting between the national security advisors of India and Pakistan in Thai capital Bangkok on Sunday. The foreign secretaries of both the countries were also present during the meeting.

Earlier, on November 30, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had an impromptu meeting with his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif on the sidelines of the Conference of Parties (CoP) 21 climate summit in Paris.

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