Foreign minister Sushma Swaraj on Wednesday said that India will join hands with Pakistan and Afghanistan for trade and commerce and also invited her counterparts from Pakistan, China, Afghanistan and other Asian countries to India next year.
Speaking at the ‘Heart of Asia’ summit, Swaraj said, “Entire world is rooting for change, let us not disappoint them” and “I look forward to welcoming you all in India next year.”
“India’s vision of HoA (Heart of Asia) is one of interlinked trade, transit, energy & communication routes, with Afghanistan as an important hub,” she added.
Swaraj also met Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on the sidelines of the summit in Islamabad.
Swaraj is set for talks with Pakistani counterpart Sartaj Aziz later in the day.
This marked the third bilateral engagement at the top level in less than 10 days following an impromptu and brief meeting between Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and Sharif in Paris on November 30.
“I have come with the message that ties between the two countries should be good and move forward,” Swaraj said on Tuesday after reaching the Pakistani capital for the ‘Heart of Asia’ meet on Afghanistan.
Her visit is also seen as the first significant India-Pakistan engagement since Modi and Sharif met in the Russian city of Ufa in July.
The Pakistani prime minister’s adviser on foreign affairs, Sartaj Aziz, who hosted a banquet for his counterpart on Tuesday night, expected a positive outcome from the meeting.
“My expectations are good and positive,” Aziz said. “My message is also that we should take our engagement forward and improve ties.”
Although the main purpose of the visit is the “Heart of Asia” conference, Swaraj is expected to bring more topics to the table.
Meanwhile, a former Pakistani minister, Rehman Malik, who currently serves as chairman of the Senate standing committee on interior and narcotics control, said the Indian leadership and intelligence agencies did not want Pakistan and Afghanistan to resolve bilateral issues through talks, Dawn reported.