The latest: While responding to questions regarding the nature of the relationship between the Taliban government in Afghanistan and the Indian government, Indian Union Minister of State for External Affairs, V Muraleedharan said that their country is engaged in a development partnership that includes more than 500 projects spread across each of the 34 provinces of the country in critical areas.
- “India has been engaged in a development partnership with Afghanistan, which includes more than five hundred projects spread across each of the 34 provinces of the country in critical areas of power, water supply, road connectivity, healthcare, education, agriculture, and capacity building,” Muraleedharan said.
- The statement included that many projects have been finished and handed over to Afghanistan.
- Earlier, in November, the Taliban’s Ministry of Urban Development and Housing (MUDH) had said that India may restart 20 stalled projects in Afghanistan.
- Moreover, the Taliban had said that India’s may be interested in improving relations and resuming Delhi’s projects in Afghanistan.
- “Projects they were implemented during the former government but were delayed due to political changes or other issues–they are now interested in resuming these projects, said Mohammad Kamal Afghan, a spokesman for the Taliban’s MUDH.
- Apart from this, even Taliban officials have been seen publicly urging the Indian business community to invest in the urban development sector of Afghanistan.
Why it matters? The implementation of such mega projects is of high importance for national and regional stakeholders. It strengthens regional connectivity and trade relations between the South and Central Asian countries, which will eventually have positive impacts on the economic development of the countries and the region in the long term.
Zoom out: Apart from this, even Pakistan is looking at using Afghanistan as a trade medium. With the increasing high price of petrol and gas shortage, the government of Pakistan has worked out a plan to import liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) overland from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan.
- After consultation with stakeholders, the federal government of Balochistan, sent a plan to the Federal Board of Revenue to import LPG across the Chaman border, according to sources.
Afghanistan will play a key role in providing security and the required logistics for this project. Afghan haulers will have to move the Pakistani tanker trucks filled with LPG from the Torghundi border with Turkmenistan to the Chaman border and hand the trucks over to Pakistani haulers, who will deliver the gas to the point of destination in Pakistan