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“We see Afghanistan as hub for strengthening links of connectivity”: PM Modi

New Delhi: Highlighting the issues of connectivity between Afghanistan and other South Asian and Central Asian countries, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said that one should work to build stronger positive connectivity between Kabul and other countries of the region.

Speaking at the opening session of the ‘Heart of Asia’ conference in Amritsar, Prime Minister Modi said, “We see Afghanistan as the hub for strengthening links of connectivity between South and Central Asia.”

“We also plan to connect Afghanistan with India through an air transport corridor,” he added.

Earlier, Prime Minister Modi and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani held bilateral talks focusing on a range of key issues including boosting trade and investment, India’s reconstruction activities in the war-ravaged country and ways to strengthen defence and security partnership.

“As India implements its additional commitments, we are open to work with other like-minded partners for the development of Afghanistan,” he said highlighting the plans to connect Afghanistan with India through an air transport corridor.

India and Afghanistan have so far shared a strong relationship based on historical and cultural links as Afghanistan has been recognized as a junction of trade routes between central, south and west Asia for 3000 years.

However, in terms of the true potential of the trade relations, both countries must agree to reopen the Wagah-Attari route for bilateral trade.

So far, transit has been a major bottleneck in Indo-Afghan trade due to denial of export of Indian goods via Wagah border and delays at Karachi port.

Most of the trade occurs via Bandar Abbas port in Iran or through Dubai.

Earlier Banks/Insurance companies were refusing to provide their services via Bandar Abbas port due to US sanctions but after lifting of sanctions now the situation may change.

Many Indian companies are engaged in the infrastructural development of Afghanistan and are contributing in the development of the country.

ANI