M A I N   N E W S

Karzai asks Pak to allow transit to India

New Delhi, November 19
Afghanistan today asked Pakistan to allow transit facility to India and sought its cooperation in fighting terrorism as an international conference here decided to enhance linkages with the war-ravaged country in energy, aviation and several other fields.

The Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan here adopted a declaration committing its neighbours and donor countries to help that country to become an “energy bridge” and deciding to accelerate work on Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project.

Addressing a joint press conference with Afghan Foreign Minister Rangin Dadfar Spanta, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said India had a vision to bring freedom, dignity and prosperity to the people of Afghanistan and was committed to undertaking various programmes in this direction.

Mr Spanta said his country should have transit facility to India through Pakistan to realise its potential to be a bridge between Central Asia and South East Asia.

“We hope as soon as possible Pakistan opens the road from India to Afghanistan for strengthening of common cooperation and for realisation of recommendation of the conference,” he said.

Meanwhile, Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai has said his country needs Indian scientists’ help in tackling serious environmental problems of water management and deforestation to check desertification.

“We are eagerly waiting for your help to protect our environment. Today there is no water in Afghanistan. There is no green, it is all dry. We need serious, thoughtful application of science to manage water. We also need to replant the tress, the focus should be how best or soon we can do that,” he said after inaugurating an Indo-Afghanistan symposium here.

With 2006 being celebrated as the UN International Year of Deserts and Desertification, the three-day event organised by the National Academy of Agricultural Sciences would deliberate on the theme “converting deserts into oasis”. — PTI



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