Chabahar Port crucial for trade in Central Asia: EAM

Chabahar Port crucial for trade in Central Asia: EAM

NEW DELHI [Maha Media]: India today commemorated Chabahar Day on the sidelines of the Maritime India Summit-2021. The event was held virtually. Ministers from Afghanistan, Armenia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia and Uzbekistan participated in the event.

Addressing the Ministerial-Level opening session, External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar said, the shift in the fulcrum of global economic growth towards Asia is creating unprecedented opportunities for connectivity in the region. He said, there is a huge infrastructure deficit in the region which needs to be met to fulfil the growing aspirations of our peoples.

The Minister said, Government of India recognising the importance of regional connectivity made a landmark decision to undertake an overseas port investment in Chabahar. He said, while the project had been under discussion for some time, it was during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Iran in 2016 that a Trilateral Agreement to establish an International Transport and Transit Corridor was signed by India, Iran and Afghanistan.

Dr Jaishankar said, the establishment and operations of India Ports Global Limited at Shahid Behesti Port in Chabahar is the practical realisation of this important initiative. He said, today’s event reflects India’s strong commitment to work together with all regional stakeholders to enhance connectivity in the region and to provide unhindered access to the sea to landlocked Central Asian countries through Chabahar.

The Minister said, today’s event also commemorates five years of the signing of the Tripartite Agreement on the establishment of a Trilateral Transport and Transit Corridor. He said, this agreement is a fitting tribute to the rich civilisational, cultural and trade links between India, Afghanistan, Iran and Central Asia.

Dr Jaishankar said, Chabahar port has not only emerged as a commercial transit hub for the region but also facilitated the delivery of humanitarian assistance, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. He said, the port is part of our shared commitment towards peace, stability and prosperity of the people of Afghanistan.

The Minister said, India has utilized the Chabahar port to ship 75 thousand Metric Tonnes of wheat as humanitarian food assistance to Afghanistan in September last year. He said, India also assisted Iran to fight the worst ever locust invasion in the last 25 years by supplying 25 Metric Tonnes of Malathion in June last year through the Chabahar port.

The second batch of 25 Metric Tonnes has recently reached Chabahar Port. Besides the Indian exports of food products, the port has also handled several shipments and trans-shipments from Russia, Brazil, Thailand, Germany, Ukraine and the UAE.

Dr Jaishankar said, the International North-South Transport Corridor INSTC is an important trade corridor project, wherein India is partnering with 12 countries to establish an economic corridor for the benefit of our peoples. He said, India also welcome the interest of Uzbekistan and Afghanistan to join the multilateral corridor project.

The Minister said, establishing an eastern corridor through Afghanistan would maximize its potential. He said, India has also proposed the inclusion of Chabahar in the INSTC route.

The External Affairs Minister expressed hope that during the INSTC Coordination Council meeting, member states will agree to the expansion of the INSTC route to include the Chabahar Port and also agree on expanding the membership of this project.

Dr Jaishankar said, the search for efficient trade routes and better connectivity has been one of the powerful driving forces of history and it has determined the prospects of many nations, regions and civilizations over time.

He said, today, as the world goes through a fundamental re-balancing, correcting many of the distortions of the past, it is only natural that connectivity should be central to that exercise.

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