US publicly lauds India’s role in making historic Af-Pak trade agreement a reality

October 30th, 2010 - 5:21 pm ICT by ANI  

Richard Holbrooke Normal
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Washington, Oct 30 (ANI): The Obama Administration has
publicly acknowledged the significant role played by India in the signing of
the historic Transit Trade Agreement between Afghanistan and Pakistan after a
protracted negotiation of 40 years.

“I’m very grateful to the Indian Government for not
interposing any objections to this bilateral trade treaty,” US Special
Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke said in a
briefing.

“We hope that the Indians will find - Indians and Pakistan
will find a way to join it at their own pace. But we will leave that to New
Delhi and Islamabad to work on,” he added.

The US envoy went on to say, “The Indians, however - the
Indians were fully informed on this. I went to New Delhi, I talked to my
friends in the foreign ministry and in the prime minister’s office, and again,
just to repeat, I’m very grateful to the Indians for not interjecting any
concerns on this.”

Giving an insight into how Pakistan and Afghanistan came to
ink the agreement, Holbrooke said, “The 1965 agreement between India, Pakistan,
and Afghanistan did not have adequate implementation machinery and never really
got going. The attempt to negotiate a trilateral trade agreement was not going
to work in the current environment.”

“We recommended to all three countries that Pakistan and
Afghanistan have a bilateral negotiation with a clear understanding, which is
written into the agreement, that if at any time India and Pakistan begin to
work together towards their own trade agreements that Afghanistan will be able
to enter those on an equal basis. The clause is called the National Treatment
Clause… And that was very key..” he said, maintaining that without the key role
played by India, the duo would not be able to sign the agreement. (ANI)

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