India and China are discussing connectivity projects that pass through Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan, the envoy of Beijing said here on Monday.
Inaugurating the first ever joint India-China training programme for Afghan diplomats, Ambassador Luo Zhaohui said that, both sides should cooperate over connectivity projects with Iran, Pakistan and extend it to smaller countries of South Asia.
“Both of us oppose terrorism and support stability and development in Afghanistan. We are talking about connectivity projects like International North-South transport corridor... India-Iran-Afghanistan transit and trade corridor, and we are also talking about connectivity of China-Pakistan-Afghanistan. All these provide us with further scope for cooperation,” said Mr Luo in his opening remarks suggesting that India and China should work on regional platforms like SAARC.
Elaborating on his insight of regional cooperation, Mr. Luo argued that transit, transportation, and development has to be taken up at a broader level and said, “Apart from Afghanistan, China and India partnership can be extended to countries like Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Myanmar and other nations. India is a regional power and China also has its importance in the region,” said the Chinese envoy in his remarks for ten Afghan diplomats who are part of the programme.
The training programme is being held at the capital’s Foreign Service Institute of India and is an outcome of the Wuhan summit of April this year when Prime Minister Narendra Modi met with President Xi Jinping to break the post-Doklam chill in bilateral ties.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj sent a statement for the event where she indicated that an ambitious capacity-building programme is being envisioned for Afghanistan. In this regard, India started a scholarship scheme for the next-of-kin of the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces who died fighting for their country.
“This (the training programme) marks the beginning of what we visualise as a long term trilateral partnership for the benefit of Afghanistan,” said the Indian minister regarding the training programme for Afghan diplomats.