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.
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.
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.