Experts seek alternative trade route for Afghanistan
New Delhi, June 18 (IANS) An alternative trade route for Afghanistan is needed to reduce its dependence on Pakistan to reach out to South Asia, experts said here Wednesday. The experts were critical of what they said was lack of Indian interest...
New Delhi, June 18 (IANS) An alternative trade route for Afghanistan is needed to reduce its dependence on Pakistan to reach out to South Asia, experts said here Wednesday.
The experts were critical of what they said was lack of Indian interest in the Iranian port of Chabahar, while China has started taking interest in the port in recent months.
The experts were speaking at a round table discussion on "Future outcome in Afghanistan". The Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA) organised the round table.
"Experts said Afghanistan was critically dependent on Pakistan to reach out to the South Asian market by land...the experts believed that an alternative route through the Iranian port of Chabahar was not paid enough attention," an IDSA statement said.
They feel the "Chinese might adopt Chabahar as yet another strategic option in India's neighbourhood," the statement added.
Experts pointed out that a peaceful and stable Afghanistan is in the interest of India and international community, and therefore all efforts must be made to Afghan capacity-building.
They also voiced concern that Taliban might derail "reconstruction" efforts in Afghanistan after the withdrawal of international troops by the end of 2014.
"The Afghan National Security Force (ANSF) has the capability to fend off such challenge, provided the international community continued to provide assistance to the ravaged nation," the statement cited experts as saying.
Various suggestions ranging from evolving an Afghan national development plan to providing budgetary support but allowing Afghans to make their own choices were made during the round table, the statement said.
On the issue of regional cooperation, the experts argued that there has to be unanimity of views on the need to advocate a policy of non-interference in Afghanistan.
They, however, noted that Pakistan has different strategic calculations and wanted to retain its leverage by all means.
The ongoing Afghan presidential election was also discussed and it was acknowledged that both the contenders for the presidential post - Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani - had good understanding with the US and international community.