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‘Afghanistan has no secret agreements with India’

PTI | Washington |

Afghanistan has no "secret agreements" with India on any issue, a top aide of the Afghan president has said, urging Pakistan to not create hurdles in India's reconstruction efforts in the war-torn country.

Citing an example of Pakistan's behaviour in creating hurdles, Homayun Qayoumi, chief advisor to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, said Pakistan did not allow Kabul to get the gates of a hydro-electric dam from India.

"…since Pakistan did not allow – did not want to allow – any products from India to Afghanistan to go through Pakistan, it had to be actually air-floated through Iran, and I think some parts of even through Azerbaijan," he said, adding the entire process took nearly six months.

At a discussion at the Center for Strategic and International Studies here last week, Qayoumi said Afghanistan's ties with India have been a "historic" and "strictly an economic and cultural relationship." 

"Afghanistan has no secret agreements with India on any topic. All of our relationship has been very much transparent and very much on economic and regional cooperation," he said.

He said if India, Pakistan, Afghanistan can have "some agreements" it will enhance trade for the three countries. It will also have a major impact on poverty reduction in Pakistan.

"Pakistan has been trying to drag, at least in rhetoric, the issues and challenges that they have with India as Afghanistan being part of that issue," said Homayun Qayoumi, chief advisor to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.

Qayoumi lauded India's development projects in Afghanistan. "The hydro-electric dam that was the first dam that closed after 40 years, that was supported by the Indian government. Right now, the package of aid that they have promised Afghanistan is about a billion dollars for a series of projects," he said.

Last year, India waived tariffs helping Afghan export more products, such as fruits.

"Our hope is that Pakistan sees that as stable and prosperous Afghanistan adds to the stability and prosperity of Pakistan, rather than seeing this win-lose situation, which is not helping Pakistan, and not helping the whole area," he said.