India and Afghanistan sternly had asked Pakistan to end all support, sponsorship and safe havens to terrorists. Pakistan appears to be using Afghanistan in its battle against India. It’s strangling the tiny, struggling war-torn nation’s trade with New Delhi, in a bid to assert its authority even as nations worldwide are coming down heavily against Islamabad’s inaction against home-grown terror. Pakistan has not replied to the Indian request to provide transit route for the grain last year. A Pakistani spokesman said that Indian Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar’s request, “was made days before the … killing of Burhan Wani”. But did not explain what the killing of Wani, a Kashmiri terrorist, has to do with India giving wheat to Afghanistan. Pakistan has tried to stop trade through Wagah. Kabul has reiterated that it won’t take this lying down. Afghanistan is at crossroads, it’s no longer a landlocked country especially with Chabahar Port coming up which can reduce Pakistan’s monopoly. Kabul has also reacted to the Pakistan move by announcing a warning that Afghanistan would shut Pakistan’s transit route to Central Asian countries if it didn’t allow Afghan traders to use the Wagah border for trade with India. Recalling that India-Afghanistan bilateral development cooperation has assisted Afghanistan’s own efforts for successful political, security and economic transitions, the two leaders Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani noted with happiness the recent completion of major milestones such as Parliament Building and the Afghanistan-India Friendship Dam. India would continue to engage with the international community to assist the Afghan President in all possible ways. Trade should not become a hurdle in maintaining pressure on Pakistan for its role in spreading terror in the region. It also underscores that India and Afghanistan remain committed to the expeditious realisation of seamless two-way connectivity between South Asia and Central Asia.
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© 2017 State Times Daily Newspaper