India pledges market access for Afghan products
Minister of State for External Affairs M.J. Akbar said at an event on regional integration in Brussels the scale of terrorism and violence unleashed against Afghanistan did not allow easy project implementation.
It also hampered efficient delivery of assistance and the rapid inflow of investments into the Afghan economy, he said, asking the international community to ensure security for stability and economic development in Afghanistan.
New Delhi continued to work with Kabul to ensure reliable access for its products to India’s markets through land, sea and air, Akbar added.
“Our commitment to Afghanistan is abiding, as is our cherished desire to work with the people and government of one of our closest friends towards peace, stability and progress.”
India had dedicated its efforts and resources to bilateral cooperation with Afghanistan, with provision of year-round regional connectivity, the minister said.
India has completed significant development schemes including scientific water management through dams and infrastructure projects like highways, worth over $ 2 billion. It recently committed $ 1 billion more in aid.
The Zeranj-Delaram road, with the potential to connect Iran to major cities of Afghanistan through a ring road, has been constructed by India.
He also referred to the Chabahar port in Iran, saying India maintained sharp focus on strengthening Afghanistan’s economy. Afghanistan’s exports have traditionally found their most lucrative market in India.
Afghanistan as the ‘Heart of Asia’ offered energy routes such as TAPI and CASA-1000 through the arteries of the region, Akbar noted, saying connectivity, like progress, was not a zero-sum game. “It is, in fact, a zero-plus opportunity.”
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