India has flagged off shipment of wheat for Afghanistan through Iran’s Chabahar port. It was flagged off from Kandla port in Gujarat by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and her Afghan counterpart Salahuddin Rabbani through video conferencing.
Chabahar port is strategically located in Sistan-Balochistan province on energy-rich Iran’s southern coast in Gulf of Oman near its border with Pakistan and can be easily accessed from India’s western coast.
The first consignment transfer was part of India’s commitment to send 1.1 million tonnes of wheat to Afghanistan on grant basis. Afghanistan will receive entire amount in six different instalments over coming months. The consignment will be transported to Afghanistan from Chabahar through land route.
The shipment of wheat is considered as landmark moment as it paves way for operationalisation of Chabahar port as an alternate, reliable and robust connectivity for landlocked Afghanistan, bypassing Pakistan.
It is first shipment going to Afghanistan through Chabahar port after trilateral agreement on Establishment of International Transport and Transit Corridor was signed between India, Afghanistan and Iran during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Iran in May 2016.
The operationalisation of Chabahar port will open up new opportunities for trade and transit from and to Afghanistan and enhance trade and commerce between India, Afghanistan and Iran and wider region in wake of Pakistan denying transit access to New Delhi for trade with the two countries.