Pics: Karzai hopes Pakistan will give transit route to India

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Kandahar, Feb 16: Afghan President Hamid Karzai has expressed hope that Pakistan will provide access for a key transit route for trade between his land-locked country and India, underlining that commerce between the three nations is an essential element for their progress and stability.

"The trade has to happen if they want to establish the region with prosperity and free of conflict. I hope Pakistan will soon give transit route to India," he said.

"Trade between Afghanistan and Pakistan, and Pakistan and India, and trade between the three countries is an essential element for the progress and stability of the countries," Karzai said here yesterday in the Afghanistan's second largest city after the inauguration of the Afghan National Agricultural Sciences and Technology University (ANASTU), built with India's help.

Pakistan has to open for the sake of Afghanistan: Salman Khurshid

Commenting on the issue of a transit route with Afghanistan, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said, "Pakistan has to open for the sake of Afghanistan. By this Afghanistan gets direct access to India via Pakistan. It will be of enormous help to Afghanistan."

"It is important that Afghanistan success would be guaranteed, if it has connectivity from all sides of border. We would want to see all countries step in including Pakistan," he added.

Khurshid said India will continue to push for Chabahar Port in Iran as an alternative route to mineral-rich Afghanistan.

India's interest in the Iranian port is not only to get a direct access to Central Asia but also to facilitate import of minerals from Afghanistan.

Khurshid also said that India has to resolve issues with Pakistan like granting of the Most Favoured Nation status.

"They have promised MFN status to India, which has not been given to us yet," he said.

In pics: Khurshid, Karzai in Kabul

Afghan President Hamid Karzai left, walks with Indian Foreign Minister Salman Khurshi, third left, during the inauguration ceremony of the Afghan National Agriculture Science and Technology University, in Kandahar province south of Kabul, Afghanistan, Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014.

In pics: Khurshid, Karzai in Kabul

Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid and Afghan President Hamid Karzai during the inauguration ceremony of the Afghan National Agriculture Science and Technology University, in Kandahar province south of Kabul, Afghanistan, Saturday.

In pics: Khurshid, Karzai in Kabul

Indian Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid speaks at the inauguration ceremony of the Afghan National Agriculture Science and Technology University accompanied by Afghan President Hamid Karzai, in Kandahar province south of Kabul, Afghanistan, Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014. A total 4.5 million U.S. dollars has been spent by the government of India in building the university.

In pics: Khurshid, Karzai in Kabul

"The trade has to happen if they want to establish the region with prosperity and free of conflict. I hope Pakistan will soon give transit route to India," Afghan President Hamid Karzai said.

 

 

Pakistan has delayed the grant of MNF status to India along with abolition of a negative trade list regime "for a short time" because of reservations expressed by several industries, Pakistani officials have said.

In his speech at the inauguration of ANASTU yesterday, Khurshid recalled that Jaswant Singh had visited the city in "very difficult, different circumstances".

"I recall that in 1999, my predecessor came to Kandahar in very difficult, very different circumstances," he said.

"So I think, all in all, it was important, critical. He (Karzai) wanted to do it before he lays down office and was very glad that I was able to come," Khurshid said.

Afghanistan is set to hold presidential election on April 5 ahead of the drawdown of US-led troops later this year.

Earlier, speaking to Indian reporters in Kandahar, Karzai said the opening of the agriculture university was a "significant" event in Afghanistan's history.

"India has taken yet one more significant step in helping Afghanistan," he said, noting that India had given aid worth USD 2 billion though it is not a traditional donor.

PTI

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