US hails SAARC push for better Afghanistan connect
From Manash Pratim Bhuyan
Kathmandu, Nov 28 (PTI) Amid the push by SAARC nations to improve connectivity, the US has said better transport linkages with Afghanistan will help bring economic prosperity to the war-ravaged country and the region as a whole.
US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia?Nisha Desai Biswal, who attended the 18th SAARC Summit, said all the leaders of the regional bloc expressed strong determination to improve economic growth in the region which was encouraging and offered to provide required assistance in realising its goal.
The US is among the 10 observers in SAARC.
“This has been a very successful SAARC summit. There was tremendous hope and determination to create the kind of connectivity that will bring this whole region into greater prosperity,” Biswal said.
“So the statements of all of the heads of states were focused on that and we very much support that and hope that we can play a role in trying to bring that about,” Biswal, who represented the US at the summit, told PTI .
Biswal also referred to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s call for linking Afghanistan with rest of the region and said improving connectivity to the country will ensure its economic prosperity to a great extent.
“We are very supportive of the transition in Afghanistan.
We want to see stability, security and economic prosperity and the economic connectivity that everyone is focused on is a key aspect of trying to bring that about and in ensuring that Afghanistan, which President Ghani said sits at the heart of Asia, can play a role in connecting all of these various parts of Asia,” Biswal said.
“And in that I think we will see a better future for the entire region,” she said.
Asked about India’s role in Afghanistan, Biswal said, “India has played a very important role and has provided a tremendous amount of economic assistance and I think India is continuing a very important role in Afghanistan’s development.”
India has invested USD two billion in aid and reconstruction and has been involved in various transport projects.