India, Afghanistan and Iran discuss ways to take Chabahar pact further

| Updated: Sep 29, 2016 19:35 IST

New Delhi [India], Sept.29 (ANI): India, Afghanistan and Iran participated in a trilateral meeting here on Thursday with regard to discussing the modalities for establishing an international transport and transit corridor, a. k. a. the Chabahar Agreement forward. Minister of Road Transport and Highways and Shipping Nitin Gadkari, Transport and Civil Aviation Minister of Afghanistan, Dr. Mohammadullah Batash and Road and Urban Development Minister of Iran, Dr. Abbas Ahmed Akhoundi participated in the meeting. The Chabahar Agreement was signed on May 23, 2016 in Tehran in the presence of the Prime Minister of India and the Presidents of Iran and Afghanistan. During the meeting, the three ministers reiterated the importance of Chabahar as a hub for regional connectivity and their commitment to work towards this objective. It was decided to organize a connectivity event involving all stakeholders at Chabahar within two months to increase awareness about the new opportunities offered by Chabahar Port. They expressed satisfaction that the three countries are taking prompt measures for completing internal processes for the ratification of the agreement. They also exchanged views on the next steps to be taken for an early implementation of the agreement. It was decided to evolve protocols related to transport and transit, ports, customs procedures and consular affairs. It was also decided to convene an expert level meeting of senior officials of the three countries within one month in Chabahar. Development of ports, road and rail connectivity will open up new opportunities leading to new jobs and prosperity in all three countries. All three agreed that trade is recognized as driving economic growth and development, and that the implementation of the agreement would provide the eco-system for the private sector to seize the business opportunities emerging due to substantial reduction of logistic costs for trade among the three countries,. Gadkari separately had a bilateral meeting with Dr. Abbas Akhoundi to review implementation of Chabahar Port Akhoundi said the agreement was a turning point in regional connectivity and it will have positive impact. The ministers also emphasized the importance of International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC). The two sides agreed to take steps for the promotion of the same. It was also decided to expedite the implementation of other projects between India and Iran including construction of the Chabahar-Zahedan Railway and India's investment in Chabahar Free Zone. They also discussed new projects relating to regional connectivity. (ANI)