ISLAMABAD: India on Wednesday praised the role of Afghan forces and people in fighting against the scourge of terrorism and for the country’s economic development. Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj believed that landlocked Afghanistan, wrecked by more than three decades of conflict,could achieve progress only through economic development. Addressing the Heart of Asia Conference in Islamabad, she called for all regional powers to exercise greater restraint and demonstrate maturity to bring peace and stability to Asia. Swaraj signalled India’s assistance to Afghanistan in restoration of peace and stability. She stressed increased connectivity, regional trade and openness with Afghanistan. “It is time Pakistan and India display maturity and self-confidence to do business with each other… the entire world is watching and we must not disappoint them,” the visiting minister observed.
Afghanistan could immediately benefit from full and direct access to India’s markets,where the impoverished nation could enjoy a zero-duty regime, she said.”The heart of Asia can’t function if its arteries are clogged,” the minister said of trade restrictions imposed by Pakistan. “India is willing to receive Afghan trucks on its territory at Attari and create necessary facilities for Afghan products there.” Swaraj evinced India’s interest in joining the Afghanistan-Pakistan trade and transit agreement. Delegates from 14 participating states, 17 supporting countries and 12 international organisations are participating in the conference. -Pajhwok
THE PASHTUN TIMES