Afghanistan’s importance for connectivity stressed at India-Central Asia Dialogue in Uzbekistan

SAMARKAND, Uzbekistan (TCA) — Afghanistan’s Acting Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani said at the India-Central Asia Dialogue in Uzbekistan on January 13 that Afghanistan can provide the most cost-effective transit routes as he highlighted the country’s importance for connecting the region, Afghan broadcaster TOLOnews reported.

The first India-Central Asia Dialogue focused on regional issues including enhancing connectivity to war-ravaged Afghanistan.

The dialogue, held in Samarkand city in Uzbekistan, was co-chaired by Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj and Uzbekistan’s Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Kamilov.

“Afghanistan can provide the most cost-effective transit routes, serving as a hub for energy supplies including from Central Asia to the energy markets of South Asia,” Afghan Acting Foreign Minister Rabbani said.

“The work on other major transport and transit corridors — including between Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, as well as between Afghanistan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan — is underway,” Rabbani said.

According to him, both India and all Central Asian partners have remained actively involved in the post-conflict reconstruction and recovery of Afghanistan in the last 17 years.

While geographically Afghanistan and Central Asia are landlocked, there are several ways in which India, Afghanistan and the Central Asian countries can join hands to work on promoting connectivity in the region so that trade and commerce may flow between us and our people to people exchanges may prosper, Indian Foreign Minister Swaraj said at the opening ceremony of the Samarkand event.

“We have already sent a very substantial quantity of wheat to Afghanistan using the Chabahar port [in Iran]. Last month, the Indian company opened its office and took over operations at the Shaheed Behesti port at Chabahar,” she said.

“We are looking at developing the Chabahar-Zahedan railway link which would bring us close to the Zaranj-Delaram road link which India has already built in Afghanistan,” she added.

Sergey Kwan


Sergey Kwan has worked for The Times of Central Asia as a journalist, translator and editor since its foundation in March 1999. Prior to this, from 1996-1997, he worked as a translator at The Kyrgyzstan Chronicle, and from 1997-1999, as a translator at The Central Asian Post.
Kwan studied at the Bishkek Polytechnic Institute from 1990-1994, before completing his training in print journalism in Denmark.

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