India to host 2 international conclaves on Afghanistan

India is set to host two back-to-back international conclaves on Afghanistan at a time when the US is stepping up pressure on Afghan President Hamid Karzai to sign the proposed Bilateral Security Agreement between Kabul and Washington DC.

The International Contact Group on Afghanistan and Pakistan will meet in New Delhi on Thursday. This will be followed by another meeting of the senior officials of the countries involved with the Istanbul Process on Afghanistan on Friday.

The conclaves are going to be the first multinational brainstorming of 2014, a watershed year for Afghanistan, which will witness both security and political transitions over the next 11 months. The International Contact Group on Afghanistan and Pakistan is a bloc of 53 countries. It was initially launched as Special Representatives’ Group in 2009 and was later renamed as International Contact Group on Afghanistan.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s Special Envoy on Afghanistan, S K Lamba, will represent India in the meet on Thursday, said official spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, Syed Akbaruddin.

He said Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh would represent India in the 10th meeting of the Istanbul Process on Afghanistan (also known as Heart of Asia process). Fourteen member states, 16 supporting members and 11 international organisations had been invited for the meet.

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