India seeks link to C. Asia via Pakistan

CHANDIGARH, March 15: Advocating close cooperation between India and Central Asia, Indian External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee has called for establishing a direct surface transportation route through Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq.

“Our ongoing Composite Dialogue with Pakistan has been yielding good results. We are hopeful that a direct road link will be established between India and Central Asian nations,” he said in his inaugural address at a seminar on Saturday.

The minister termed the absence of direct surface link as a major problem in the development of economic and trade relations between India and the Central Asia and said the recent steps taken by Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Russia to increase road and rail connectivity could be linked to further development of the International North South Transport Corridor.—PPI