Prof Farooqi: Afghanistan can be a bridge between South and Central Asia

Professor Hamidullah Farooqi, Chancellor of Kabul University and Advisor Minister on Higher Education to the President of Afghanistan, attended a program, “Afghanistan Reconnected”: Renewed Opportunities Under China’s “One Belt, One Road” Initiative on Trade and Transit on June 15, 2017, at Beijing, China.

Prof. Farooqi came with an expression of thanks on behalf of the Government of Afghanistan to distinguish representatives, scholars, economists, and government officials who were gathered there with the sole aim of discussing the importance and practical influence of trade and transit in the region.

He said, “Despite challenges of terrorism, threats of instability, economic recession and conflicts — and lacking the capacity of a proper platform for discussing the issues and finding solutions to the problems of the region; the East-West Institute’s commendable commitment and contribution are highly valuable and we are thankful for this.”

He emphasized, “There is a great need to come together as partners between countries, organizations and think tanks in this juncture for regional connectivity and incorporation and a clear perspective on the value of human rights, democracy and freedom through trade, transit and corridor and connectivity, and the commitment to wipe out poverty and achieve the Social Development Goals.”

Advisor Minister, Farooqi appreciated the current state of major regional players and added, “Fortunately, the innovations, novelty in the production systems, and adaptation of entrepreneurship in India and China, as well as the implementation of CPEC through Pakistan, are creating confidence. Modern in terms of promoting trade and transit and utilization of the modern technology and business regulations in the modern age. The trade and commerce between China and Afghanistan have been increasing toward more optimistic levels.”

Meanwhile, he warned of the consequences and added, “However, the inclusion of the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline and Islamabad’s troubled relations with neighboring Afghanistan and India are some of the other factors which make the future of a proposed economic corridor unpredictable.”

During addressing the audience, Prof. Farooqi added, “Obviously, history tells us that Afghanistan has remained a prominent bridge between South and Central Asia due to its strategic location. There are efforts in South Asian states trying connecting to Central Asia to bypassing Afghanistan entirely. We know that most of the states from the South Asia believe that Afghanistan is the best and easy way for entering into Central Asia and of course, we are ready to make it easier while eradicating the threat of terrorism and I think this needs a unanimous stand against the terrorism.”

Prof. Farooqi stressed the importance of friendly and frankly relations among the states of South and Central Asia, and he applauded the important role of China and India in the rehabilitation and development of Afghanistan.

He also talked to the audience about the concerns of the regional players about Afghanistan’s foreign and trade policy, he says, “Some of our friends in Pakistan are of the view that Afghan authorities are slower in responding to the proposed bilateral and transit trade related matters. It seems that they were least interested in Pakistan and would rather devote their time and energy towards materializing the trilateral agreement with Iran and India. This is wrong. We propose four roads to our friends; China and Pakistan to start work on the feasibility reports while bringing railways and highways on the Durand Line to Khost, Nangarhar, Helmand and Kandahar provinces. These are not our offers but were part of the previous plan of One Belt One Road (OBOR) through the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). These lines for trade and transit will give us the opportunity to connect the region from China to Pakistan and Afghanistan through Central Asia.”

At the end, Prof. Farooqi said, “Positively, these efforts show that we are on the side of trade and transit through peaceful purposes while equally benefiting the regional states. Afghanistan is flexible enough to go through the interests of the region and certainly, we look forward to contributing a fruitful contribution in the regional trade and transit markets.”

 

The Afghan Tribune | News Desk | Published: June 29, 2017, 03:16 AM

 

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