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First consignment via Chabahar leaves India for Afghanistan

The Indian outreach to Afghanistan through Iran is taking place at a time when the Trump administration is trying to push Tehran into a corner through diplomatic and economic means.

Written by Shubhajit Roy | New Delhi | Updated: October 30, 2017 9:07 am
chabahar port, chabahar port assignment, afghanistan, kandla port, iran chabahar port, chabahar, chabahar deal, trilateral chabahar deal, chabahar india iran, india iran ties, india iran chabahar deal, india iran latest deal, india iran afghanistan deal Chabahar port sits at the mouth of the Gulf of Oman in the north Arabian Sea, close to Iran’s border with Pakistan.

India operationalised the Chabahar port in Iran of Sunday, sending the first consignment of wheat to Afghanistan, bypassing Pakistan. This is a major leap in India’s strategic outreach to landlocked Afghanistan, to which Pakistan has so far blocked access. Another six shipments of wheat will be sent to Afghanistan over the next few months.

Chabahar port sits at the mouth of the Gulf of Oman in the north Arabian Sea, close to Iran’s border with Pakistan. The Indian outreach to Afghanistan through Iran is taking place at a time when the Trump administration is trying to push Tehran into a corner through diplomatic and economic means.

New Delhi recently started an air freight corridor to Afghanistan, and has sent 981 tonnes of fruit since mid-June this year. But the air corridor has limitations in terms of capacity, and the sea route has economic advantages. From Chabahar port, which is easily accessible to India, the consignment will be transported to Afghanistan over Iranian roads.

The wheat shipment was flagged off from Kandla port in Gujarat with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and her Afghan counterpart Salahuddin Rabbani joining the ceremony via video-conferencing. The “landmark moment” would pave the way for “operationalisation of the Chabahar port as an alternate, reliable and robust connectivity for Afghanistan,” the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailed the development as a “new chapter” in regional cooperation and connectivity.

Swaraj described the operationalisation of the sea route as an important step in realising the shared aspiration to carve out “new routes” of peace and prosperity. “I am extremely delighted that today we have joined on a momentous occasion for the people of our three countries and the region,” she said.

“The wheat that is leaving the Indian shores today is a gift from the people of India to our Afghan brethren. It is 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 among the three countries and the wider region, including Central Asia. The trilateral agreement on Establishment of International Transport and Transit Corridor was signed during the visit of Prime Minister Modi to Iran in May 2016.

India and Iran have expressed their commitment to early completion of work on the port project. Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari recently said that work was progressing as scheduled. “We are hopeful of starting operations at Chabahar port by the end of 2018. It will be a win-win situation for India, Iran and Afghanistan, as trade and business through this route could reach even Russia and Europe,” Gadkari had said.

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  1. A
    ak dev
    Oct 30, 2017 at 10:17 am
    Afghanistan's solution lies in isolating Pakistan and USA operations not needing any type of support from Pakistan. With the help of India, USA should also use the Chabahar route and bypass Pakistan completely. USA then will not be dependent on Pakistan and can intensify drone attacks on Haqani and Taliban terrorists.
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    1. M
      mtv
      Oct 30, 2017 at 9:37 am
      A very good move, indeed. Credit goes to Modi.
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      1. M
        MANOJ KUMAR
        Oct 30, 2017 at 11:16 am
        Yes, all credit to Modi, this port was conceptualised and executed in just last three and half years
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        1. S
          Swamy
          Oct 30, 2017 at 1:40 pm
          In March 2012, ships from India docked at Chabahar carrying 100,000 tonnes of wheat under humanitarian aid to Afghanistan.This Port was initiated in 2003 and since roads were being made to link that port to Afghanistan.Only final agreement was signed in 2016, Do not fool your self. Moochiji is known to take all acknowledgements to himself and Brickbats to others.
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        2. G
          George Cruz
          Oct 30, 2017 at 9:30 am
          This is another brilliant and strategic move by the BJP/Modi to bypass the terror central Pakistan and shipping badly needed wheat to Afghanistan via Iranian port Chabahar.
          (8)(6)
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          1. S
            Swamy
            Oct 30, 2017 at 1:42 pm
            This move was made in 2003 when M00chji was wandering sitting on genocide of Gujarati Citizens.False propaganda of Saffrons will not work here.
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          2. T
            tanbeeralam
            Oct 30, 2017 at 8:57 am
            Modi is really Superman 3 saal men itna kuch ker diya
            (14)(0)
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            1. G
              Girish Rao
              Oct 30, 2017 at 7:01 am
              congratulations to the government of India
              (8)(0)
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