Chabahar port will help India bypass Pakistan: Afghan president


Afghanistan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani on Wednesday said the Chabahar agreement will help India bypass Pakistan in transporting goods to Pakistan via a sea-land route.

“Why are we so concerned that a country (Pakistan) can block two great nations (India-Afghanistan) from trade? Let’s organise it then, let’s put the logistics in place. Anyway, Chabahar will end the monopoly,” said Ghani, during his visit to India.

Ghani’s comments come at a time when ties between South Asian rivals India and Pakistan are severely hit due to the unrest in Kashmir.

Ghani, who is on a two-day visit, had bilateral talks with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier in the day. Both leaders agreed that militancy presented the single biggest threat to peace, stability and progress in the region and beyond.

Speaking at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses in New Delhi, Ghani asserted that making a distinction between good and bad terrorism is a “short-sighted” approach.

The Afghan state head said states should help their neighbours and not indulge in maligning them. “They (states) do not behave like maligned non-states actors vis-a-vis their neighbours. They see a collective security be an objective and that’s what brings stability. Stability does not come from the barrel of the gun,” said Afghanistan President, Mohammad Ashraf Ghani.

Pakistan has blamed India for the two-month unrest in Kashmir that has left at least 71 people dead and wounded thousands of others.

Meanwhile, New Delhi has blamed its neighbour for stoking further trouble by pushing militants across the heavily militarised border that divides the region.

India in May this year announced that it will build and operate Chabahar port and invest USD 500 million in developing the strategically important port, close to Iran’s border with Pakistan.

Earlier in the day, India and Afghanistan signed three agreements. New Delhi also announced a credit of USD one billion to Kabul.

New Delhi has provided a little over $2 billion in economic assistance to Afghanistan in the last 15 years but has been more measured in providing weapons in order to avoid a backlash from Pakistan, which sees Afghanistan as its area of influence.