US backs Ghani’s move to include India in transit trade
WASHINGTON (Pajhwok): The United States on Thursday supported Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s move to include India in the transit trade agreement with Pakistan “which would improve trade relation and connectivity in South Asia.
“We would support stronger trade relations within the region,” State Department Deputy spokesman Mark Toner told reporters at his daily news conference.
He said they had long said that it was a priority for the United States at least and should be a priority for the countries in the region to all work more cooperatively and constructively together and a trade agreement would be part of that.
“We would encourage stronger trade relations between all the countries of the region,” he said, responding to a question on recent statements of Ghani in this regard.
“I'm not going to weigh in on the bilateral negotiation between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Afghanistan is a sovereign country and it has its own rights - it has rights to make its own decisions with regard to who it decides to allow trade relations with. But broadly speaking, again, it's in the interests of the region, it's been a consistent goal of ours strategically to promote stronger relations between all the countries,” Toner said.
He also welcomed $1 billion aid pledge made by India to Afghanistan this week. “The fact that India is willing to invest in that future we view as a very positive sign and we appreciate India's effort,” he said.
“This is something - we obviously support India's generosity and focus on Afghanistan and willingness to help Afghanistan become a stronger, independent country that has the stronger economic growth, certainly, but also has the capacity to defend itself and provide for the security of its people,” Toner said.
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