• 02 March, 2024
Geopolitics & National Security
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Regional conference of Afghan’s neighbours highlights India’s initiatives in the war-torn country

Sat, 02 Apr 2022   |  Reading Time: 3 minutes

Beijing, Apr 1 (PTI) The TAPI gas pipeline proposal, India’s wheat supplies to Afghanistan and development of the Chabahar port in Iran have figured among the initiatives to support the economic reconstruction of the war-torn country at a regional conference held by China.

The 3rd Foreign Ministers’ Meeting of the Neighbouring Countries of Afghanistan was held Thursday in Tunxi, situated in China’s Anhui province. Foreign ministers or representatives of China, Iran, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan took part in the conference. Though India was not invited to the meeting, its initiatives figured in the declaration — ‘The Tunxi Initiative of the Neighbouring Countries of Afghanistan on Supporting Economic Reconstruction in and Practical Cooperation with Afghanistan’ — issued after the conference.

The Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline project, which has remained dormant for several years, was cited as an important project for reconstruction of Afghanistan under the present interim administration of Taliban. In particular, Turkmenistan will promote the implementation of the construction of the transnational gas pipeline, which is an important aspect of trade and economic cooperation, and which will ensure the development and restoration of the social and economic infrastructure of Afghanistan, the declaration said.

The TAPI pipeline plans to transport natural gas from the Galkynysh Gas Field in Turkmenistan through Afghanistan into Pakistan and then to India. Supplies of wheat to Afghanistan by India through the transit facility of Pakistan also figured in the declaration. “Pakistan is also acting as a channel to facilitate the flow of international humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan, including providing a transit facility for Indian wheat to Afghanistan on an exceptional basis for humanitarian purposes,” it said.

The declaration also mentioned the development of the Chabahar port in Iran, though India has not been mentioned. “Iran is developing the port of Chabahar and will continue to develop the infrastructure of Chabahar port and its land and sea transit routes along with road projects such as the Mahiroud-Farah road undertaken by Iran in order to help strengthen the situation and transit position of Afghanistan,” it said.

India is developing the Chabahar port mainly to route supplies to Afghanistan and thereby Central Asian States. For its part, China according to the declaration, besides supplying humanitarian aid, will back its business to investment in tapping the rich mines and oil deposits in Afghanistan. China “supports its enterprises in investing and starting businesses in Afghanistan when the security situation permits, and in resuming projects such as the Aynak copper mine and the Amu Darya oilfield in due course,” it said. “China supports its enterprises to help Afghanistan improve its mobile network, and explore and develop mineral resources,” it said.

Russia too “expresses its support to national and joint Russian-Afghan businesses to start economic and trade activities in Afghanistan”. “Russia supports its companies to develop Afghanistan’s oil and gas fields and realise mined products on mutually agreed conditions,” the declaration said. After the takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban in August last year, China and Pakistan have been backing the interim government as they seek to expand their influence in the war-torn country.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi who recently visited Pakistan and Afghanistan called for restarting the China, Afghanistan and Pakistan trilateral cooperation mechanism and advance cooperation in the areas of politics, development and security. Speaking at the meeting of the foreign ministers of China, Afghanistan and Pakistan in Tunxi on Thursday, Wang called for building tripartite political mutual trust, supporting each other’s core concerns and safeguarding common interests.

Besides Wang, the meeting was attended by his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi and acting Foreign Minister of the Afghan Interim Government Amir Khan Muttaqi. Wang suggested that China, Afghanistan and Pakistan enhance anti-terrorism cooperation, eradicate the breeding ground of terrorism and achieve long-term stability in the region, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

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