Bypassing Pakistan, India initiates Afghanistan trade route via Iran

Bypassing Pakistan, India initiates Afghanistan trade route via Iran

The shipment is a part of India's commitment to supply 1.1 million tonnes of wheat for the Afghan people "on a grant basis" and "will pave the way for operationalisation of Chabahar as an alternate, reliable and robust connectivity for Afghanistan".

On Sunday, New Delhi reclaimed its geographical and strategic legacy in part, exporting a consignment of wheat to land-locked Afghanistan through the Iranian port that it jointly developed with Teheran.

In June, India and Afghanistan had launched an air freight corridor between the two countries to boost trade as Pakistan has been refusing land transit access through its territory.

"This is manifestation of our New Development Partnership that we committed to when foreign minister Rabbani was in India last month".

India has announced an investment of $ 500 million in Chabahar port complex and the strategic port is expected to be fully operational by the end of 2018.

But India has indicated it is prepared to help develop Chabahar especially as it hopes to open up trade routes to Afghanistan and other Central Asian markets.

On Sunday, the External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj flagged off first wheat shipment from Chabahar port.

More news: An Apple analyst believes all iPhones will have Face ID in 2018

"The people of India, Afghanistan and Iran have been connected through centuries; shared commonalities of art and culture, ideas and knowledge; language and traditions".

Pakistan has banned India from sending goods consignments to Afghanistan via its territory.

He also supported India's development assistance to Afghanistan. Also, the Indian government will also send six more wheat shipment to Afghanistan in next few months.

In September this year, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had assured her Afghan counterpart Salahuddin Rabbani to speed up the development work at Chabahar port. Rabbani had raised the issue while meeting Swaraj in New Delhi. During Mr. Tillerson's October 24-25 visit, he noted India's close cooperation with Iran on the use of Chabahar and said that despite bilateral problems with Tehran, the United States had nothing against "legitimate business" with Iran. The port, through this railway network, could also be linked with the International North South Transport Corridor connecting India with Russian Federation.

From Chabahar, the shipment will travel by road to Zahedan on the Iran-Afghanistan border.

This will be the first shipment to reach Afghanistan through the Chabahar port after the trilateral agreement on establishment of global transport and transit corridor was signed. From the Iranian port it will be taken by road to Kabul.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while talking to media after signing the agreement, was quoted saying, "We want to link with the world". Chabahar is meant to rival the already built Gwadar port in neighbouring Pakistan which was built and paid for by funds from China, which has a monopoly on access to the facility. India started negotiations with Tehran more than a decade ago.

Related Articles