Cost of indifference being paid in Afghanistan

Discussion in 'Subcontinent & Central Asia' started by ejazr, Dec 30, 2010.

  1. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

    Oct 8, 2009
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    Hyderabad and Sydney

    Diplomats point out that India's guarded approach in dealing with Iran is evident in virtually all areas of potential cooperation, not just oil imports — and the costs are beginning to be felt in Afghanistan. The Iran-India-Pakistan pipeline that seems to have been trumped by the U.S.-backed TAPI (Turkmenistan-India-Afghanistan-Pakistan) pipeline is a celebrated case. But talks without results have been the hallmark in developing the Iranian port of Chabahar.

    A larger and more modern port would have allowed India to make better use of a road it built in Afghanistan.

    Besides developing the Iranian port, India is keen on laying down a rail link to the edge of this Zaranj-Delaram road. Goods would then be transported into Pashtun areas of Afghanistan by an alternate route than the one through Pakistan's Karachi port. Using Afghanistan's garland highway, goods transported via Zaranj-Delaram road could even be sent to Central Asia. The road was built by Indians who braved multiple attacks by the Taliban, who did not want the shorter route to Pashtun areas to go through. Though several Indians died or were injured in the attacks, the road was finally completed.

    The strategic aspect was underlined by Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao during a recent lecture. The Zaranj-Delaram road had revived the economy in Afghanistan's Nimroz province and the link-up with Chabahar would enable India send goods to Central Asia, she had added. But as is the case with considering a new mechanism for setting bilateral trade, Indian plans for enlarging Chabahar five times and constructing a railway line to Bam on the Iran-Afghan border continue endlessly to be discussed and talked about, without any progress on the ground.

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