Pakistan must allow Afghanistan direct trade access to India through Wagah: Ghani

Published: April 30, 2015
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Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. PHOTO: REUTERS

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. PHOTO: REUTERS

Demanding “sovereign equality”, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said Pakistan must allow his country direct access to India through Wagah border in Lahore.

At present, Pakistan allows Afghan trucks carrying goods meant for India only up to its last checkpoint at Wagah and not to the Indian checkpoint at Attari which is just less than a kilometer away.

Ghani, in an exclusive interview to Indian newspaper The Hindu, warned that if the deadlock continues, Afghanistan will not provide equal transit access to Central Asia for Pakistani trucks.

Read: Indian, Afghan leaders pledge to fight militants, build trade

The Afghan president, who is in India on his first state visit, said Pakistan must accept the “national treatment” clause agreed to in the Afghanistan Pakistan Transit and Trade Agreement (APTTA), signed in 2011, which gives each country equal access up to the national boundaries of both.

On Tuesday, Ghani met Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and called for regional cooperation to defeat violent extremist groups.

Islamic State

The Afghan president said the Islamic State has challenged countries from “India to Russia” and that the regional countries must united to end the menace.

Ghani said the IS threat was different from that posed by groups such as the Taliban, which wanted to “overthrow the state”.

“Now the prize is not the state, it is destruction. Our territory is being made the battleground. Our people are being killed brutally to show a spectacle. We all need to mobilise as a region,” he said.

He, however, denied downplaying threat from groups such as the Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, saying the “drivers have changed”.

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Reader Comments (37)

  • Just
    Apr 30, 2015 - 11:25AM

    ROFL on warning ! Recommend

  • shaheen
    Apr 30, 2015 - 11:35AM

    Pakistan,s attitude of neither playing nor letting others play will only cause it more problems. Had Pakistan allowed it to be use as an trade route between India-Iran or India-central Asia, there would have been more jobs , Pakistan would have more purchasing power and bigger political say and china would have never got such trade concessions. when will Pakistan learn to read writing on the wall.Recommend

  • Frank
    Apr 30, 2015 - 12:04PM

    We can perhaps allow Afghanistan access to India but we can never allow India access to Afghanistan. It is in Pakistan’s strategic interest to keep India hemmed in to South Asia. Recommend

  • sabeen
    Apr 30, 2015 - 12:20PM

    @shaheen: Its our problem but thanks for your time and interest.Recommend

  • Bewildered
    Apr 30, 2015 - 12:22PM

    “Afghanistan will not provide equal transit access to Central Asia for Pakistani trucks”

    Fair enough warning, but then don’t complain if Pakistan also do the same by taking back the transit facilities extended to Afghanistan. Pakistan at no cost will allow India to use its territory before settling the Kashmir dispute. The sooner Afghanistan understands this, the better.Recommend

  • S
    Apr 30, 2015 - 12:23PM

    The Afghan president, who is in India on his first state visit, said Pakistan must accept the “national treatment” clause agreed to in the Afghanistan Pakistan Transit and Trade Agreement (APTTA), signed in 2011, which gives each country equal access up to the national boundaries of both.

    True Mr. Ghani and and you can’t block our access to Central Asia if you respect that agreement. Pakistan is allowing you to access India but its a one-way traffic and will remain so. We don’t trust India and you know we will never agree so why bother?Recommend

  • Gaurav Arya
    Apr 30, 2015 - 12:26PM

    India is now the world’s fastest growing economy as per the World Bank and IMF. We managed this without access to Afghanistan through Pakistan. It will be nice to have access to Central Asia through Pakistan, but then we can’t always have what we want. So, we are building a port at Chahbar in Iran. Central Asia has a population of 70 million people. Thats less than the population of most states in India. So, as a market its not such a big deal.What matters is land access to Middle East.

    If Pakistan thinks of Afghanistan only in terms of being strategic, then its not looking at the whole picture. India has invested over USD 2 billion in Afghanistan. This is not for military purposes. Its for influence.Recommend

  • Arun
    Apr 30, 2015 - 12:33PM

    @Bewildered:

    Afghanistan is a land locked country, it HAS to be provided access to sea (just like India HAS to provide the same to Nepal, India cant stop Nepal’s access as per its whims). So the whole ‘Pakistan will not provide Afghanistan access to Arabian Sea’ is not aligned to facts. Read up about land locked countries & their rights etc.Recommend

  • Sonny Punk
    Apr 30, 2015 - 12:48PM

    @Bewildered: Why does everything hinge on the “Kashmir dispute” ?? Even the people of Kashmir are sick and tired of being made a political football by Pakistan. Get your own house in order before proposing a marriage.Recommend

  • kan
    Apr 30, 2015 - 1:03PM

    History shows how india wish to distablise pakistan in the name of trade will be nevercome trueRecommend

  • akki
    Apr 30, 2015 - 1:19PM

    @Sonny Punk:
    “Even the people of Kashmir are sick and tired of being made a political football by Pakistan.”

    A lie as white as an albino. Haven’t watched Indian news channels lately?Recommend

  • Abbas
    Apr 30, 2015 - 1:36PM

    @Gaurav Arya:
    LOL india will also wont have accesses to pakistani waters which has recenty been extended by UN “This adds over 50,000 sq kms of continental shelf to the existing 240,000 sq kms of EEZ under Pakistan’s jurisdiction,”

    so good luck on building a port at Chahbar in Iran

    Also your plans of gas pipeline from iran to bypass pakistan waters is also done for.Recommend

  • samir
    Apr 30, 2015 - 1:42PM

    Maybe Afghan president is not following geopolitics. Pakistan’s focus for next decade is to build the three trade routes from China to arabian sea… so he is in no position to bargain. He should rather focus on eliminating terror havens on his soilRecommend

  • Tony Singh
    Apr 30, 2015 - 1:48PM

    @Frank:
    “We can perhaps allow Afghanistan access to India but we can never allow India access to Afghanistan. It is in Pakistan’s strategic interest to keep India hemmed in to South Asia.”

    Perhaps you forget your agriculture solely depends on Indian mercy. You forget one magic word “Water”. The point is Pakistan is in no position to blackmail India. The day the India throws IWT in the dustbin you will give access even to Gawader let alone AfghanistanRecommend

  • amir
    Apr 30, 2015 - 1:49PM

    you are most welcome to block our tucks Mr. Ghani. We will make our own headway into Afgan land. But we will never let Afgan India tranist be established.Recommend

  • Tore
    Apr 30, 2015 - 2:55PM

    Afghanistan is a hostile country towards Pakistan. In the recent years i have read more article about Afghanistan accusing Pakistan for harbouring anti Afghan groups, while Afghan leaders harbour Balouch groups and TTP in Afghanistan. These have to be eliminated.

    Regarding access to Central Asia, Pakistan dont need to go through the hostile country of Afghanistan, pakistani dont feel secure in this thankless country which we have provided shelter for more then 40 years in our country.

    Regarding access to Central Asia, Pakistan can get access to Kyrgistan, Tadjikistan, Kazakhastan and Russia via China and immilarly Pakistan can get access to Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan via Iran. Dont need help from hostile Afghans.Recommend

  • A J Khan
    Apr 30, 2015 - 2:59PM

    Pakistan should not allow this access till situation normalizes. India cannot be trusted and will use this transport to arm terrorists in out back yard.Recommend

  • Zaffar
    Apr 30, 2015 - 3:19PM

    This is the strategic depth that Pakistan dream of in Afghanistan and now Ghani has shown the reality. India ang Afghanistan are working on a alternative route via Iran and that will be extended to Central Asia. So Smart Pakistanis will be barred from accessing that. This is what the Pakis call “Strategic Depth”
    Interestingly Ghani has become tired of Pakistan’s double standard. India will start training Afghan forces again. Enjoy!Recommend

  • Frank
    Apr 30, 2015 - 3:21PM

    @Tony Singh:

    The point is Pakistan is in no
    position to blackmail India. The day
    the India throws IWT in the dustbin
    you will give access even to Gawader
    let alone Afghanistan

    You cannot block the rivers of a nuclear power without very serious consequences indeed.Recommend

  • EEZ
    Apr 30, 2015 - 3:28PM

    @Abbas:
    Sometimes u should read b4 u comment. EEZ is a zone where pakistan has a exclusive rights to explore natural resources nothing more. Pakistan neither has a authority nor capacity to stop India from using EEZ granted to it.nyhow u dont have expertise to explore the resources in EEZ so i can see another chinese takeover.Recommend

  • Najm
    Apr 30, 2015 - 4:05PM

    You probably didnt pay much attention in your history class.@kan: Recommend

  • pakistani
    Apr 30, 2015 - 4:09PM

    @Tony Singh:
    shows your mentality. Go ahead and block water and then be ready to take whats coming your way.Recommend

  • Khan
    Apr 30, 2015 - 4:48PM

    Thanks brother but no thanks. Pakistan must never7 allow this – trucks will come into Pakistan loaded with Indian agents n spies. Allowing them such a passage would be like inviting disaster. Mr. President please try to be a good brother and spare Pakistan. It would be better if Afghanistan would stop all direct/indirect trade with India for its own and Pakistan sake.Recommend

  • Pakistani
    Apr 30, 2015 - 5:16PM

    Afghanistan can’t threaten us, we’ll just make it very expensive for them to use our ports (which are the only ones they rely on) and easily force them to do our bidding. If any organisation complains about it on “humanitarian grounds” and tries to force us to do anything, we then have a legit argument about the fact that India was never forced to take back its troops from our land in Kashmir. In the end, Afghanistan can’t dare touch Pakistan.Recommend

  • Babloo
    Apr 30, 2015 - 5:19PM

    Congratulations to Pakistan for having built a ‘strategic pit’ for itself in Afganistan. You guys are really smart.Recommend

  • Babloo
    Apr 30, 2015 - 5:37PM

    Pakistan does not abide by any deal it signs. Its just another mechanism employed to cheat, deceive and extort.Recommend

  • Pir Roshan
    Apr 30, 2015 - 7:20PM

    @Pakistani, please be informed that Afghans have ditched Port Qasim & 80% container trade is done through Bander Abbas. Besides they have plenty of options, after all silk roads goes through Afghanistan to Europe & beyond. NATO & US has developed the Northern corridore, linking them to central Asia, Russia, China, Turkey & Europe. So please don’t behave like Izrael to take soul out of people. At the end you are loosing business & trade as well. Indian are smart they do not become hypertensive & therefore successful in all areas. Recommend

  • Ahmad Mustafa
    May 1, 2015 - 3:02AM

    There is much hype about china investment in Pakistan, I don;t think it would workRecommend

  • Rex Minor
    May 1, 2015 - 4:33AM

    ET mod. please print
    @Pir Roshan:
    Regardless of Dr Ghani flirts with the Indian poiticians, the only course for the future survival of the Pashto speaking region is to have an independent passage to warm waters of the Arabian Sea!

    Rex Minor Recommend

  • Tony Singh
    May 1, 2015 - 11:29AM

    @Frank:
    “You cannot block the rivers of a nuclear power without very serious consequences indeed.”
    Oh really!!. You can shove those nuclear weapons up where sun never shines. You got to know one thing – Nuclear weapons are just one thing – a boy of fourteen, neither instrumental nor ornamental. Besides we have heard that nuclear threat before. No one cares now.Recommend

  • Tony Singh
    May 1, 2015 - 11:32AM

    @Pakistani:
    Look at your own mentality before pointing fingers at others. Your attitude of “we will not develop nor we will allow our neighbourhood to” smacks of blacmail.Recommend

  • Rex Minor
    May 1, 2015 - 1:11PM

    @Tony Singh:

    You have a point. Pakistan has nuclear weapons in stock, but its army is not nuclearised?

    Rex MinorRecommend

  • Hella
    May 1, 2015 - 3:31PM

    Most of the Pakistanis commenting here seem to be confused. Ghani is only asking for Afghan access to India, not the other way round. So need to hyperventilate on Indian access to Afghanistan. India will get it when it needs it and Pakistan won’t be able to do much except stand by and watch. No wonder Pakistan is in the mess that it is in. Even ‘educated’ Pakistanis don’t seem to get it.Recommend

  • May 1, 2015 - 11:44PM

    @shaheen:
    The trade must be done through the border, under the foreign agreements; very fair for all nations. the direct trade cannot be public in domain. let the Pakistan help Afghanistan via his check post and all three country will be benefited. Please be a honest with Pakistan, Pakistan must control his borders and must have wall erected. Most of the products goes to Afghanistan, even families are living both side, that’s reflects strong bond between Pakistan and Afghanistan, let Pakistan help you, carry out stuffs from Indian Border to Afghan border, all party will be benefitted. Recommend

  • Someone
    May 3, 2015 - 6:16PM

    Much talk and air from Indians, but less substance. In a conflict situation, Chabahar would be practically useless for India. India would still have to pass Pakistani territorial waters and EEZ to get to Chabahar. All Pakistan would need to do is impose naval blockade on its waters against India. There goes Chabahar. Recommend

  • waseem
    May 4, 2015 - 12:48AM

    @Arun:
    Did India ever provide land access to Nepal for Pakistan?
    Or even the former east pakistan?
    Indian exect others to be generous but are worse than beggers when start demandingRecommend

  • Khan Roedad
    May 6, 2015 - 12:34PM

    Afghan President call for the cooperative effort of all regional countries to eliminate terrorism from Afghanistan is highly appreciative. He openly admitted use of Afghanistan’s land to fight war for India and Russia indicating that its land would not be used for terrorist activities against neighboring countries. Pak – Afghan Transit Trade route can only be sued by India if Pak – India bilateral issues are resolved and a common beneficial environment is generated based on mutual trust development of Chabahar deep water port is again an Indian endeavor to underplay Pakistan and undermine the importance of Gawadar.Recommend

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