In­dia opens trade route to Afghanistan via Iran

Iran Daily - - Domestic Economy -

In­dia on Sun­day shipped its first con­sign­ment of wheat to Afghanistan by sea through Iran’s strate­gic Chah­ba­har Port.

The ship­ment was sent from its western sea­port of Kandla and will be taken by road to Afghanistan from the Ira­nian port, AP re­ported.

The new trade route fol­lows an air freight cor­ri­dor in­tro­duced be­tween In­dia and Afghanistan in June last year to pro­vide greater ac­cess for Afghan goods to the In­dian mar­ket.

In­dia’s Ex­ter­nal Af­fairs Min­is­ter Sushma Swaraj said on Sun­day that the ship­ment marked the con­ver­gence among In­dia, Afghanistan and Iran to spur an un­hin­dered flow of com­merce and trade through­out the re­gion.

“I be­lieve that this is the start­ing point of our jour­ney to re­al­ize the full spec­trum of con­nec­tiv­ity — from cul­ture to com­merce, from tra­di­tions to tech­nol­ogy, from in­vest­ments to IT, from ser­vices to strat­egy and from peo­ple to pol­i­tics,” Swaraj said.

Last year, In­dia, Afghanistan and Iran de­cided to jointly es­tab­lish a trade route for land­locked Cen­tral Asian coun­tries. In­dia com­mit­ted up to $500 mil­lion for the de­vel­op­ment of Cha­habar Port along with as­so­ci­ated roads and rail lines.

Swaraj also re­it­er­ated In­dia’s con­tin­ued com­mit­ment to sup­port re­con­struc­tion, ca­pac­ity build­ing and so­cio-eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment of Afghanistan, in­clud­ing un­der the frame­work of the New De­vel­op­ment Part­ner­ship an­nounced last month.

“The wheat that is leav­ing In­dian shores, is a gift from the peo­ple of In­dia to our Afghan brethren. It bears tes­ta­ment to the con­tin­ued com­mit­ment of the govern­ment and the peo­ple of In­dia to sup­port our Afghan brethren in build­ing a nor­mal, peace­ful, pros­per­ous, se­cure and bright fu­ture for them­selves,” Swaraj said.

Chaba­har Port is ex­pected to 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.

“To­day, we are re­ju­ve­nat­ing these con­nects and com­mon­al­i­ties. I be­lieve that this is the start­ing point of our jour­ney to re­al­ize the full spec­trum of con­nec­tiv­ity,” Swaraj said.

She al said six more wheat ship­ments will be sent to Afghanistan over the next few months.

In­dia and Iran have al­ready ex­pressed com­mit­ment for early com­ple­tion of the Chaba­har Port pro­ject.


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