India-International Relations Current Affairs

PM Narendra Modi, Ashraf Ghani inaugurates Afghan-India Friendship Dam

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani jointly inaugurated the Afghan-India Friendship Dam in Herat province in Western Afghanistan.

The dam was inaugurated during PM Narendra Modi’s first stop to Afghanistan as part of his five- nation tour which will also take him to Qatar, Switzerland, US and Mexico.

Key facts

  • The Afghan-India Friendship Dam was earlier known as Salma Dam. It is built on Hari River in Chishti Sharif District of Herat Province neighbouring Iran and is earth and rock fill dam.
  • It is a multipurpose project built to generate 42 MW of power, irrigate 75000 hectares of land, water supply and other benefits to the people of Afghanistan.
  • By irrigating 75000 hectares of land it is expected to significantly boost the agricultural economy of the province.
  • Central Public Sector Unit M/s. WAPCOS under the aegis of Union Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation.
  • The height of the Dam is 104.3 metres, length 540 metres and width at the bottom is 450 metres. The gross capacity of the dam is 633 Million M3.
  • All equipment and material required for the dam were transported from India to Iran’s Bander-e-Abbas port via sea route.
  • It was further transported by road to Islam Kila border post at Iran-Afghanistan border and then further 300 km by road from the border post to the site.

Comment

  • India has a strategic partnership with Afghanistan and is implementing number of infrastructure projects worth 2 billion dollars to help rebuild the country’s infrastructure.
  • As part of India’s goodwill diplomacy it has been supporting an Afghanistan-led, Afghanistan-owned, broad-based and inclusive process of peace and reconciliation.
  • India is also advocating the need for a sustained and long-term commitment to Afghanistan by the international community.

Herat province: It lies on the ancient trade routes of the Middle East, Central and South Asia. Roads from Herat to Turkmenistan, Iran, and other parts of Afghanistan are considered strategically important.

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India, Iran and Afghanistan sign historic land transit trade agreement

India, Iran and Afghanistan sign historic three-way land transit agreement on Iran’s strategic southern port of Chabahar.

It was signed by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani in Teheran, Iran.

Under the agreement, India will invest up to 500 million dollars in a deal to develop a strategic port in Iran.

Chabahar port is strategically located in the Sistan-Balochistan Province on the energy-rich Persian Gulf nation’s southern coast. It lies outside the Persian Gulf and is easily accessed from India’s western coast, bypassing Pakistan.

Comment

  • The agreement on the establishment of a Trilateral Transport and Transit Corridor has potential to alter the course of history of this region.
  • It can spur unhindered flow of commerce throughout the region and its economic fruits will expand trade, attract investment, build infrastructure, develop industry and create jobs.
  • India will get sea-land access route to Afghanistan bypassing Pakistan which will open opportunities for Indian companies to explore Afghanistan’s mineral wealth.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Iran

It was the first by an Indian PM to Iran in 15 years and comes months after international sanctions on Iran were lifted following its historic nuclear deal with the P5+1 nations over its contentious atomic programme. Earlier, then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had visited Iran in April 2001.

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