Economy, Domestic Economy

Trilateral Meeting on Chabahar Port Development Project

Chabahar Port, strategically located in the southeast of Iran, serves as the country’s only oceanic port.Chabahar Port, strategically located in the southeast of Iran, serves as the country’s only oceanic port.

Implementation of connectivity projects was among the main issues discussed at a trilateral meeting between India, Iran and Afghanistan in Tehran on Wednesday.

The director-general level meeting deliberated various aspects of a trilateral agreement signed by the three countries earlier this year on the development of transit routes to and from Afghanistan through the Chabahar Port.

The landmark deal was signed by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and President Hassan Rouhani in Tehran  in May.

“With our joint investments in Chabahar, we can connect India through a reliable route to Afghanistan and countries in Central Asia,” Rouhani said in a press conference with the two leaders.

Speaking earlier in the Iranian capital, Modi said his country will open a $500 million credit line to develop the port, located in the Sea of Oman, into a regional trading hub.

Closer ties with Iran will allow New Delhi to secure cheaper energy to bolster economic growth and challenge the influence of both China and Pakistan in the region.

Chabahar also allows India an alternative route to the energy-rich former Soviet republics in Central Asia.

For Afghanistan, the nearby port and its access to the Indian Ocean could be used to ship its goods in less time and lower cost. The nation hopes to exploit as much as $1 trillion in untapped mineral wealth and reduce its reliance on the US, which pays for about 75% of Afghanistan’s military budget.

“The corridor would spur unhindered flow of commerce through the region,” Modi said at the signing ceremony.

Compared to traditional sea routes, it could lower the cost and time taken to move cargo to Europe by about 50%.

According to the Indian newspaper Business Standard, another senior-level meeting among the three countries will be held in Kabul. It did not give the date of the meeting.