SM Krishna for linking south and central Asia | delhi | Hindustan Times
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SM Krishna for linking south and central Asia

delhi Updated: Nov 02, 2011 23:45 IST
Jayanth Jacob
Jayanth Jacob
Hindustan Times
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Setting out it's perspective for 'Heart of Asia' with Afghanistan at its centre, India on Wednesday stressed on its vision for a regional economic cooperation, with railways and highways, energy pipelines and cross-investments, reiterating on the idea of linking South Asia to Central Asia.

At a crucial conference on Afghanistan in Istanbul, external affairs minister SM Krishna made a reference about the meet addressing "issues of safe havens and sanctuaries" beyond the Afghanistan border, in an oblique reference to Pakistan.

"Terrorist networks are by far the major threat to Afghanistan's security," Afghan president Hamid Karzai had said earlier, adding "they continue to have sanctuaries outside of our border from where they conduct their merciless campaign..."

The conference discussing security and development in Afghanistan is being held against the backdrop of western forces withdrawal.

Rooting for a regional framework, Krishna stressed the need for linking south Asia with central Asia through Afghanistan. He said India's partnership doesn't look at Afghanistan and the region in "competitive" terms, but for "regional economic cooperation".

"This cooperation would be founded on trade and transit routes, railways and highways, energy pipelines and electricity networks, economic projects and cross-investments. This cooperation would not be only between governments, but have civil society and business as stakeholders," Krishna said.

He went on to explain the idea by recalling the historical roots of regional trade routes.

"Today our investments in Afghanistan require a framework of regional collaboration for their success", Krishna said.

He also clarified on India's concerns about the safe havens for terrorists beyond the Afghanistan border. It got duly reflected in the Istanbul document.

"The recent history has shown that an end to Afghanistan's suffering requires an end to external interference in its internal affairs. This conference is addressing issues including safe havens and sanctuaries beyond Afghanistan's borders," Krishna said.