The principal meeting of the India-Central Asia Joint Working Group on Chabahar is currently underway in the Financial Capital of India. The two-day meet, which started on Wednesday, was one of the vital results of the Delhi Declaration of the first India Central Asia summit held in January last year.
The members present in the meeting include India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. Iran and the United Nations World Food Programme (UNWFP) are special invitees.
One of the major discussing point at the gathering is the development of the Shahid Behesti Terminal (SBT) and the utilization of the Chabahar port by the Central Asian nations. The meeting will also discuss the expectations of the participating nations.
Located in the southeastern Iranian city of Chabahar, the Chabahar port has emerged as a commercial transit hub for the region. In May of 2016, a trilateral agreement between India, Iran, and Afghanistan was penned down to establish the International Transport and Transit Corridor (Chabahar Agreement). India is participating in the development of the first phase of the Shahid Behesti Terminal, Chabahar Port, in cooperation with Iran.
India for the development of the SBT has assisted with an all out amount of $85 million and a credit office of $150 million. Part of its commitment, India also provided six mobile harbor cranes (two 140 tons and four 100 tons limit) and other equipments worth $25 million.
India Ports Global limited (IPGL), ever since assuming control over the activities of the Chabahar Port in December 2018,through its wholly owned subsidiary, India Ports Worldwide Chabahar Free Zone (IPGCFZ), has dealt with 215 vessels, 16,000 TEUs (Twenty-foot Comparable Units), and 4,000,000 tons of bulk and general cargo, states the recent information given to the Indian parliament.
The Chabahar Port has emerged as an economical and stable route for the landlocked countries of the region to reach India and the global markets.
It has provided much-needed sea access to the landlocked countries of the region, including Afghanistan. Through the port, a total of 2.5 million tonnes of wheat and 2,000 tonnes of pulses have been trans-shipped from India to Afghanistan.
The port also facilitated the supply of humanitarian assistance, especially during COVID-19 pandemic. India used the port to ship 75,000 MTs of wheat as humanitarian food assistance to Afghanistan in 2020. In 2021, India supplied 40,000 litres of environment-friendly pesticides to Iran to fight the locust menace.
The India Central Asia Joint Working Group on Chabahar meeting is supposed to additionally fortify India’s connectivity focus with the Central Asian nations and Iran. The advancement of the Chabahar port and its use by the participating nations will open doors of economic and trade opportunities.