The Ministry of External Affairs told the Lok Sabha on Friday that there is no proposal for a bilateral trade agreement with Afghanistan. This was in response to a question raised by Vidhuthalai Chiruthaigal Kachi (VCK) MP Thirumavalavan Thule.
The MP representing Chidambaram from Tamil Nadu wanted to know if India was planning to explore Afghanistan’s vast lithium reserves.
The government said it was closely monitoring developments in Afghanistan. Union Minister of State for External Affairs V Muralidharan said, “The government is closely monitoring the developments in Afghanistan, including the evolving security situation and taking all necessary steps to protect our national interests.”
Afghanistan has vast reserves of lithium and some experts say that Afghanistan may sit on one of the largest reserves of lithium. South America’s Lithium Triangle consisting of Bolivia, Chile and Argentina (in that order) are the largest producers of lithium.
Lithium is in demand because it is an important component of batteries and other electronics. Lithium-ion batteries used in the production of electric vehicles have also forced companies in the sector to look at the potential in Afghanistan.
A major obstacle for law-abiding and democratic nations is the Taliban regime, with which companies are reluctant to negotiate.
However, Chinese firms have continued to ignore the political instability in Afghanistan, as they have done in many unstable jurisdictions such as the Congo, and last November assigned five representatives from different companies to explore the reserves. Sent to discuss.
The Taliban-led government also urged China to find investment avenues. The Taliban-led government in Afghanistan is facing a crisis as people live amid economic and food crises. People live in fear of the Taliban and women are prevented from going to school or working in offices.
China has promised the Taliban it will help them rebuild Afghanistan even as Taliban leaders continue to break promises made to the international community regarding women’s education and universal human rights.
China is eyeing the projects as it promotes Xi Jinping’s signature Belt and Road initiative.
The issue of China and Pakistan inviting third countries to participate in the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was also raised.
“Any such action by any party is a direct violation of India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Such activities are inherently illegal, illegitimate and unacceptable, and will be dealt with accordingly by India,” replied Muralitharan.
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