Brushing aside media reports that Indian consortium has scarped a mega mining project worth $10.8 billion in Afghanistan, Indian ambassador to Afghanistan, Amar Sinha said Sunday the consortium didn’t roll back its project. An Indian newspaper, the Financial Times reported recently that the SAIL-led consortium of India’s leading steelmakers has decided to scrap the $10.8 billion Hajigak mine project. Hajigak mine is the largest iron ore deposit. It is located at Hajigak in Bamyan province and is the Asia’s largest but untapped iron ore. Bamyan is relatively a peaceful province.
The rejection of the report by the Indian ambassador has reinvigorated the flattened hopes as the drawdown of foreign forces and decline in international aid have already showing implications on Afghan economy. Not only the government but local investors are also floundering as how to cope with the situation. In such a time, the rollback of this mega project would have left indelible imprints on our national economy. Sans continued growth and process, words such as improvement, achievement and success remain meaningless as growth is never by mere chance rather this is something the result of a number of forces working together where the role of friendly nations always remain countable. When other nations show reluctance and just one nation stands by your side, it shows a marked difference, which must be felt by Kabul. India has proved itself a reliable friend because its foreign policy objectives want to see Afghanistan as a stable, sovereign and democratic country. Besides that in our trade relations, trading ideas must be there as currently Afghanistan needs not only business and trade but also ideas in this business. Equal opportunity, economic empowerment, could successfully tame poverty, ignorance, growth restraint, and encourage investment in education, infrastructure, and scientific and technological research, where all these things collectively lead to job opportunities. However, the problem is the current government has kept all its eggs in one basket as it wants peace at all costs, which is why it has been taking greater risks by increasing multifaceted relations with Afghanistan’s eastern neighbor. Some of the policies have started backfires at home and the government looks nervous. India has also adopted a cautious attitude. But despite that keeping the mega consortium project intact is a biggest deal. After decades of insufficient investment, and now after the drawdown of coalition forces, Afghanistan needs public and private sector capital and investment to rehabilitate its energy sector. This sector has huge potentials as based on a Soviet-era estimate, this war-ravaged country holds over five trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 100 million barrels of oil reserves. Since then 30-plus years have elapsed, but there is no worth satisfaction project in Afghanistan’s natural resources and the biggest hurdle is ‘insecurity’. As India has already been among the major contributors to Afghanistan’s reconstruction process and is helping in diverse fields such as infrastructure, communications, healthcare, education, capacity building, and economic development therefore New Delhi must stay the course as things are likely to come to pre-2014 presidential election and President Ashraf Ghani, who has been doing some new experiments would soon be disillusioned.