Addu (Maldives): Recent measures to normalize trade between India and Pakistan are encouraging signs towards the realisation of a "new silk road" connecting south and central Asia, a US official said on Friday.
Robert O Blake the Assistant Secretary of State for Southern and Central Asian Affairs said that the concept of making Afghanistan a hub of economic activity will provide an "alternative to insecurity and extremism."
Blake was speaking as an observer at the conclusion of a South Asian summit which India, Pakistan and Afghanistan are attending.
US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton proposed the idea in India earlier this year saying it would help Afghanistan to recover from the effects of war without becoming a permanent recipient of foreign aid.
"We understand the changes will not take place overnight but a number of recent developments across South Asia offer significant hope," Blake said.
"The United States is very encouraged by the positive recent steps taken by the governments of India and Pakistan to initiate close trade and economic ties. Closer trade will create a natural foundation to a stronger bilateral relations," he added.