STOCK MARKET BSE NSE

No serious connectivity initiative can ever be a one-way street: S Jaishankar

Jaishankar said there was a need to address not just physical infrastructure but all its accompanying facets while expanding connectivity between Central Asia and South Asia.

Published: 16th July 2021 04:21 PM  |   Last Updated: 16th July 2021 04:21 PM   |  A+A-

India's foreign minister S Jaishankar

India's foreign minister S Jaishankar (Photo | AP)

By PTI

NEW DELHI: Building connectivity is an act of trust and it must, at the minimum, conform to laid down laws as respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity are the most basic principles of international relations, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said at a regional conference in Tashkent on Friday.

He also said that connectivity efforts must be based on economic viability and financial responsibility and they should not create debt burdens, seen as an oblique reference to China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

He said no serious connectivity initiative can ever be a one-way street and that the real issues are of "mindsets, not of disputes" as blocking connectivity in practice while professing support in principle benefits no one.

There has been growing global criticism of the BRI as Chinese financing has resulted in rising debt in several countries where infrastructure projects under the mega initiative are being implemented.

In his address, Jaishankar said there was a need to address not just physical infrastructure but all its accompanying facets while expanding connectivity between Central Asia and South Asia.

The conference on 'Central and South Asia: Connectivity' has been hosted by Uzbekistan with an aim to significantly boost connectivity between the two regions.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and leaders from around 35 countries attended the conference.

"Tourism and societal contacts can create a fostering enabling environment. But, at the end of the day, building connectivity is an act of trust and must, at the minimum, conform to international law. Respecting sovereignty and territorial integrity are the most basic principles of international relations," he said.

Jaishankar said that connectivity efforts must be based on economic viability and financial responsibility.

"They should promote economic activity and not create debt burdens.

Ecological and environmental standards, as also skill and technology transfers, are musts.

Connectivity must be consultative, transparent and participatory," he said.

Jaishankar said that for reliable connectivity within and through Afghanistan, the world must have confidence in its governance, noting that development and prosperity go hand in hand with peace and security.

"Our connectivity deliberations expect predictability, efficiency and observance of norms of our time as its foundation," he said.

Jaishankar said economic growth is universally driven by "3Cs: connectivity, commerce and contacts", adding all three need to come together to ensure regional cooperation and prosperity.

"The challenge we face is that politics, vested interests and instability can be formidable impediments to its realization.

There are lessons too from our experiences that need to be understood," he said.

"The real issues are of mindsets, not of disputes.

Blocking connectivity in practice while professing support in principle benefits no one.

A one-sided view of trade rights and obligations can never work.

No serious connectivity can ever be a one-way street," Jaishankar added.

The external affairs minister also referred to practical steps taken by India since 2016 to operationalize the Chabahar port in Iran.

"This provides a secure, viable and unhindered access to the sea for Central Asian countries. Its efficacy is now clearly proven. We have proposed to include the Chabahar port in the framework of INSTC," he said.

Jaishankar described as a welcome development the formation of the India-Uzbekistan-Iran-Afghanistan Quadrilateral working group on the joint use of Chabahar port.

The International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) is a 7,200-km-long multi-mode transport project for moving freight among India, Iran, Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Russia, Central Asia and Europe.

"We are gathered here today in pursuit of a more prosperous and inter-connected Eurasia.

To realise that, India stands ready to cooperate, plan, invest and build," Jaishankar said.

The conference extensively deliberate on practical ways to enhance connectivity with a larger aim of deepening trade, investment and people-to-people ties in the region.

"Connectivity acquires a particular salience in the context of post-Covid economic recovery. It is itself an economic multiplier," Jaishankar said.

"But there is also a widespread realization of the need now for more resilient and reliable supply chains. This is not just a matter of production; it is equally a challenge of efficient logistics," he said.

"All of us need more and multiple options. And this applies to the domain of connectivity most of all," he added.



Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp