In a major boost for India, it officially took over the operations at the Chabahar port in Iran, following a crucial trilateral meeting between the two countries and Afghanistan on Monday, 24 December.
The meeting witnessed officials from India, Afghanistan and Iran discuss the strategically important port, during which they agreed on the routes for trade and transit corridors between the three countries, reported news agency PTI.
The first meeting of the follow-up committee for implementation of the trilateral Chabahar agreement between India, Afghanistan and Iran at the level of Joint Secretary or Director General was held in the Iranian port city of Chabahar, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said.
Trade and Transit Routes Agreed On
Positive and constructive discussions were held between the three sides on full operationalisation of the Trilateral Transit Agreement for international transit and transport through the Chabahar Port. They agreed on the routes for the trade and transit corridors between the three countries, the MEA told PTI.
It was agreed to finalise at the earliest, the protocol to harmonise transit, roads, customs, and consular matters.
During the meeting, it was agreed to allow cargo movement at Chabahar using Transports Internationaux Routiers Convention provisions, the MEA said.
It was decided to hold an event to promote and popularise the potential of Chabahar on 26 February 2019.
A study would also be initiated for determining measures to make the route attractive, decrease logistic costs and pave the way for smooth operationalisation of the Chabahar Agreement.
The next Follow-up Committee meeting, followed by the second Coordination Council Meeting at the level of secretaries or deputy ministers, will held in India.
Chabahar to Counter Pakistan’s China-Sponsored Gwadar
In May 2016, India, Iran and Afghanistan inked a pact which entailed establishment of Transit and Transport Corridor among the three countries using Chabahar Port as one of the regional hubs for sea transportation in Iran, besides multi-modal transport of goods and passengers across the three nations.
The port in the Sistan-Balochistan province on the energy-rich nation's southern coast is easily accessible from India's western coast and is increasingly seen as a counter to Pakistan's Gwadar Port, which is being developed with Chinese investment and is located at distance of around 80 km from Chabahar.
The Chabahar Port is considered a gateway to golden opportunities for trade by India, Iran and Afghanistan with central Asian countries besides ramping up trade among the three countries after Pakistan denied transit access to India.
(With inputs from PTI.)