The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.

Chabahar port to benefit landlocked Afghanistan, Central Asia

India on Friday said a narrow view should not be taken on the long-term agreement between New Delhi and Tehran on the Chabahar port project as it would benefit landlocked Afghanistan, Central Asia and the entire region. Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal said Friday at his weekly media briefing that India’s commitment towards the Chabahar port is to realize its potential as a connectivity hub for Afghanistan and Central Asian countries, which were landlocked. India and Iran last week signed a 10-year contract for the operation of a terminal at the strategically important Chabahar port in Iran, a move that will boost regional connectivity as well as trade ties. This is the first time India will take over the management of an overseas port and will also have a multiplier effect on trade among India, Iran and Afghanistan as efforts continue to directly tap the potential in Central Asia, bypassing Pakistan. The port, which New Delhi originally proposed to develop in 2003, sits strategically on the Gulf of Oman and offers Indian goods a vital gateway to landlocked Afghanistan and Central Asia via the International North-South Transport Corridor, bypassing Pakistan. The long-term bilateral contract on Chabahar Port Operation was signed between Indian Ports Global Limited (IPGL) of India and the Port and Maritime Organization (PMO) of Iran, enabling the operation of the Shahid-Beheshti in Chabahar Port Development Project for a period of 10 years. India Ports Global Private Limited (IPGPL) is a joint venture company formed by Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust and Kandla Port Trust and has been incorporated under the Indian Companies Act, 2013. IPGPL will invest $120 million to beef up the facilities at Chabahar port. The company will also open a $250 million credit window that will be used to develop infrastructure at the Iranian port. The long-term agreement replaces an earlier pact signed in 2016, which focused on India’s operations at the Shahid Beheshti terminal within Chabahar port and had been subject to annual renewals. Chabahar port’s utilization has been crucial for India, facilitating aid shipments to Afghanistan and supporting trade ties with Iran. The management takeover of the strategic port potentially reshapes the trade dynamics among India, Iran and Afghanistan. By directly tapping into the vast market potential of Central Asia, India aims to bypass Pakistan and strengthen regional connectivity. Last year, India used Chabahar port to transport 20,000 tons of wheat aid to Afghanistan. In 2021, it was used to supply environmentally friendly pesticides to Iran. Located in the SistanBalochistan province on the energy-rich Iran’s southern coast, the Chabahar port is being developed by India and Iran to boost connectivity and trade ties. Mashal Noori

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The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.