MEA: Chabahar Port Deal Critical for Afghan and Central Asian Connectivity

India emphasized on Friday that the long-term agreement with Tehran regarding the Chabahar port project should not be viewed narrowly, highlighting its benefits for landlocked Afghanistan, Central Asia, and the broader region.

The statement by Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal follows the United States’ recent warning of potential sanctions after the deal between India and Iran was finalized.

On Monday, India and Iran signed a 10-year agreement granting India operational control of the Chabahar port.

“India’s commitment to the Chabahar port is to harness its potential as a connectivity hub for Afghanistan and Central Asian countries, which are landlocked,” Jaiswal said during his weekly media briefing.

He noted that India Ports Global Limited has been managing the port since 2018 under an interim lease.

“With the conclusion of this long-term agreement, port operations are set on a solid foundation,” Jaiswal added.

He highlighted India’s humanitarian efforts through the port, including the delivery of 85,000 metric tons of wheat, 200 metric tons of pulses, and 40,000 liters of the pesticide Malathion to Afghanistan.

Located in Iran’s Sistan-Balochistan province on its southern coast, the Chabahar port is a collaborative project between India and Iran aimed at enhancing regional connectivity and trade.

“The US has acknowledged the significance of Chabahar port operations for sustaining humanitarian aid to Afghanistan and providing the country with economic alternatives,” Jaiswal stated.

Echoing External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar’s earlier remarks, Jaiswal reiterated, “We should not take a narrow view of this issue.”

Jaishankar had stressed that the Chabahar port agreement between India and Iran is beneficial for the entire region, particularly for landlocked Afghanistan and Central Asia.

Jaiswal noted that the US has recently recognized the broader relevance of the Chabahar project, especially in the context of humanitarian aid to Afghanistan.

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