India and China to start Joint venture in Afghanistan

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WUHAN: Both India and China have decided to venture together on economic projects in Afghanistan, a move that can discomfort Pakistan which has long seen as a force of encircling the country.

Leaders of both countries, Chinese President Xi Jinping and the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, discussed a wide range of issues related to bilateral relation particularly touching upon how to partner and kick off economic projects in Afghanistan at the informal summit which was held yesterday, in Wuhan, China.

The details of the discussion have not been made public but a source told the Times of India newspaper both India and China discussed participation in an economic project, however, the details of the projects will be discussed through diplomatic channels.

“It’s a sign that the two leaders, to an extent, did manage to address the distrust which has marked ties in the past few years,” the source told Times of India.

The development comes at a time when China has proposed to include Afghanistan in the CEPC project. Islamabad is watching these developments very keenly as the country has supported various non-state actors to sabotage various Indian development in projects in Afghanistan.  

Analysts see the move of both India and China to undertake joint economic projects in Afghanistan as a positive step towards cooperation in the region.

American Scholar Barnett Rubin tweeted that “This agreement constitutes a recognition of Afghanistan’s efforts to become a ‘roundabout’ of Asian cooperation — it is exactly what the government has been working for. It also constitutes an implicit rebuke to both the U.S. and Pakistan.”

In regard to the concerns of Pakistan Rubin adds “The message to Pakistan is clear: China not only recognizes but wants to cooperate with the Indian presence in Afghanistan. For years the Pakistan military has rationalized its support for the Taliban and other pressures on Kabul by citing the threat posed by the Indian presence.”

It is imperative that both India and China to work together in Afghanistan which is vital for regional peace and prosperity. Peace in Afghanistan is vital to the regional development and economic initiatives especially to the Chinese Belt and Road initiative.

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