India, Afghanistan and Iran held a first trilateral meeting on Chabahar Port project in Trehan on Tuesday during which they reviewed the implementation of Chabahar port agreement. The Indian delegation was headed by T.S Tirumati, Secretary (Economic Relations), while the Afghan and Iran delegation was led by respective Deputy Ministers of Transport.
“Detailed discussions were held between the three sides on full operationalization of the Trilateral Agreement for international transit and transport through Chabahar port,” the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said.
In May 2016, India, Iran and Afghanistan had signed a pact which entailed the establishment of a transit and transport corridor among the three countries using Chabahar Port as one of the regional hubs.
“All sides shared the view that full operationalization of trilateral Chabahar initiative will promote connectivity and economic development of Afghanistan and the region,” the MEA said in a statement.
Chabahar port is located in southeastern Iran, on the Gulf of Oman and is of immense importance from economically, strategically and political point of view. The region provides direct access to and connects three regions: Central Asia, South Asia and West Asia. It is also a major junction of shipping and oil trade routes. The region holds two-thirds world oil reserves; estimated 17 billion barrels of crude oil pass this way daily.
The aim of the committee was to discuss to finalize protocol to harmonize transit, roads, customs and consular matters for making the route attractive and decrease logistic costs.
“It was decided to hold the next meeting of the coordination council in the first half of 2019 in India,” the MEA said.
The Chabahar port is being considered a gateway to golden opportunities for trade by India, Iran and Afghanistan with central Asian countries.
The port is being considered crucial for trade among the three countries in the wake of Pakistan denying transit access to India.
With the US bringing the ports in Iran under the sanctions regime against the Gulf nation, New Delhi has conveyed to Washington the importance of the Chabahar project, saying it can be a major link for trade with war-ravaged Afghanistan.