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Regional links are key: China envoy

India and China are in talks over connectivity projects that pass through Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan, Beijing’s ambassador said here on Monday. Speaking at 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. China and India are members of the Istanbul Process and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.We are talking a lot about regional connectivity initiatives such as the International North-South transport corridor, India-Iran-Afghanistan transit and trade arrangement, and China-Pakistan—Afghanistan cooperation. All these have provided a solid foundation for the current and future cooperation between China and India in Afghanistan,” said Mr. Luo, suggesting that India and China should work on regional platforms like SAARC.

Mr. Luo argued that transit, transportation and development has to be taken up at a broader level and said, “China-India Plus cooperation should be extended to other countries such as Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives, Iran and Myanmar,” 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 in April this year when Prime Minister Narendra Modi met with Chinese 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 has started a scholarship scheme for the next-of-kin of martyrs of the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces who died fighting for their country. “This marks the beginning of what we visualise as a long-term trilateral partnership for the benefit of Afghanistan,” Ms. Swaraj said.

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Printable version | May 15, 2021 2:09:17 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/regional-links-are-key-china-envoy/article25230326.ece

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