| GEO Business|
| India-Afghanistan trade likely via Wagah border|
| Updated at: 1736 PST, Thursday, May 07, 2009|
WASHINGTON: Pakistan and Afghanistan have signed a "milestone" MoU committing themselves to reaching a transit trade agreement by the end of the year, a step that could ultimately allow India to use the Wagah-Khyber route for trade with Kabul.
Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and his Afghan counterpart Rangeen Dadfar Spanta signed the MoU at US State Department yesterday, with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton terming it an "historic event".
"This agreement has been under discussion for 43 years without resolution," she said.
The two nations have reached an "important milestone" in their efforts to generate foreign investment and stronger economic growth and trade opportunities, Clinton said adding, with the MoU, they have committed to "achieving a trade transit agreement by the end of the year," which she believed will have "great economic benefits for both peoples".
Although India is not mentioned in the MoU, Pakistani daily Dawn today reported that it will be the "main beneficiary" of a transit trade agreement between Pakistan and Afghanistan as Kabul's major trade partner.
Both India and Afghanistan have long insisted that Pakistan open its land route for transit trade between the two countries which do not have a common border, the report said.