EghtesadOnline: India on Sunday sent its first consignment of wheat for Afghanistan to be transited through Chabahar Port in Iran, seen as a “landmark” move to operationalize the strategic transit route.
Indian newspaper Mint also reported on its website that India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and her Afghan counterpart Salahuddin Rabbani flagged off the shipment of wheat from India to Afghanistan via video conferencing.
“The shipment of wheat is a landmark moment, as it will pave the way for operationalization of the Chabahar Port as an alternate, reliable and robust connectivity for Afghanistan,” reads a ministry statement, adding that Chabahar will open up new opportunities for trade and transit from and to Afghanistan and enhance trade and commerce between the three countries and the wider region, Financial Tribune reported.
“The two foreign ministers welcomed the fact that this is the first shipment that would be going to Afghanistan through Chabahar Port after the trilateral agreement on establishment of international transport and transit corridor was signed during the visit of the prime minister of India to Iran in May 2016,” the statement added.
Six more wheat shipments will be sent to Afghanistan over the next few months. Swaraj and Rabbani also reaffirmed their commitment to continue their cooperation for the benefit and prosperity of the people of Afghanistan and the region.
India and Iran have already expressed commitment for the early completion of the work on the Chabahar Port project.
Chabahar Port, located in Sistan-Baluchestan Province on the energy-rich Persian Gulf nation’s southern coast, lies outside the Persian Gulf and can be easily accessed from India’s western coast, bypassing Pakistan. The port is likely to ramp up trade involving India, Afghanistan and Iran in the wake of Pakistan denying transit access to New Delhi for trade with the two countries.
India has been closely working with Afghanistan to create alternate and reliable access routes, bypassing Pakistan. An air freight corridor between India and Afghanistan was also operationalized earlier this year to give a fillip to bilateral trade relations.