Tashkent [Uzbekistan], July 16 (ANI): Highlighting the importance of regional connectivity at a conference in Tashkent, External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar on Friday noted that the challenge of politics, vested interests, and instability can be formidable impediments to its realisation.
Addressing the Central South-Asia Conference on regional connectivity, EAM Jaishankar said, "Economic growth is universally prevented by three Cs -- connectivity, commerce and contacts. All three need to come together to ensure regional cooperation and prosperity."
On the challenges that impede connectivity, the Minister said, "The challenge we face is that politics, vested interests and instability can be formidable impediments to its realisation. The real issues are of mindsets, not of disputes. Blocking connectivity in practice while professing support in principle benefits no one."
Stressing on the need for greater connectivity, Jaishankar said that a one-sided view of trade rights and obligations can never work. "No serious connectivity can ever be a one-way street... All of us need more and multiple options and this applies to the domain of connectivity most of all."
Underscoring the need for reliable connectivity within and throughout Afghanistan, he said, "Development and prosperity go hand-in-hand with peace and security. For reliable connectivity within and through Afghanistan, the world must have confidence in its governance. Our connectivity deliberations expect predictability, efficiency and observance of norms as its foundation."
The Minister also proposed to include Chabahar port in the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) framework for secure, viable and unhindered access to the sea for Central Asian countries.
During his speech, Jaishankar also welcomed the India-Iran-Afghanistan-Uzbekistan Working Group on joint use of Chabahar port. Back in March, he had proposed the inclusion of Iran's Chabahar Port in the INSTC and invited Uzbekistan and Afghanistan to join the multi-lateral corridor project.
The Chabahar port, where an Indian state-run firm - India Ports Global Limited operates Shahid Beheshti Port, is the practical realisation of this important initiative to enhance connectivity to Afghanistan and the Central Asian states. (ANI)