India, Iran and Afghanistan agree to develop new Silk Route

Jan 31, 2003 01:00 AM

India, Iran and Afghanistan have agreed to develop a “new Silk Route” to enhance trade with Central Asian countries, External Affairs Minister Yashwant Sinha said.
“The route will utilise Chah Bahar Port of Iran to send goods through Afghanistan and to Central Asia countries. It is being estimated that this new route will cut distances by 1,500 km", Sinha, who is on a visit to Kyrgyzstan, said in his address to the Kyrgyz National State University.
India, he said, was going to construct 200 km of this new road, which might usher in an entirely new era of trade relations and people-to-people contacts between India and Central Asia. "This new silk route of prosperity is India's wish for its relations with Central Asia," the Minister said, recalling how the old Silk Route had provided a meeting point for China and India carrying out a high volume of trade then.
Observing that energy and hydro-electricity were two other areas where a lot could be achieved, Sinha said India with its high demand for energy could import oil and gas from the region which had huge reserves. "We can also work together for new pipe-line routes and additional refineries," he said. He also called for innovative ways to tap traditional goodwill and resources to best advantage.

Sinha also said New Delhi was considering setting up an institute for information technology and a food processing plant as part of Indo-Kyrgyz cooperation programme. Referring to the industrial exhibition organised by India in Bishkek last year, Sinha said, "Encouraged by the response received then, we are thinking of having a second exhibition." This time, he said, it could be a consumer goods show with as many as 100 Indian businessmen participating.
India, Sinha said, in the last 10 years has been increasing the reach of its cooperation programme in Central Asian countries and in Kyrgyzstan alone, training was being provided every year for about 300 man months in fields of it, mass media, management, diplomacy and administration amongothers.

Source: Indian Express Newspapers Ltd.
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