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India says Chabahar port project would benefit landlocked Afghanistan, Central Asia

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NEW DELHI, May 17: India on Friday said a “narrow view” should not be taken on the long-term agreement between New Delhi and Tehran on the Chabahar port project as it would benefit landlocked Afghanistan, Central Asia and the entire region.

The remarks by Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal came days after the United States warned of sanctions following India and Iran sealing the deal.

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India and Iran on Monday signed a 10-year agreement that provided for Indian operations at the Chabahar port.

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

He said an Indian company — India Ports Global Limited — has been operating the port since 2018 on an interim lease.

“Now, we have concluded a long-term agreement which is essential for port operations,” Jaiswal said.

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“Since then, we have provided humanitarian assistance, including 85,000 metric tons of wheat, 200 metric tons of pulses and 40,000 litres of pesticide Malathion, to Afghanistan through this port,” he said.

Located in the Sistan-Balochistan province on the energy-rich Iran’s southern coast, the Chabahar port is being developed by India and Afghanistan to boost connectivity and trade ties.

“The US has shown an understanding of the importance of the Chabahar port operations for continued humanitarian supplies to Afghanistan and to provide Afghanistan with economic alternatives,” Jaiswal said.

“I would like to reiterate what the EAM (External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar) had earlier said that we should not take a narrow view of this issue,” he said.

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Two days ago, Jaishankar said a narrow view should not be taken of the agreement between India and Iran to develop the Chabahar port as the project will benefit the entire region. Jaiswal said the Chabahar port project will benefit the entire region, particularly landlocked Afghanistan and Central Asia.

“The US has, in the recent past, appreciated the larger relevance of the Chabahar project, particularly in the context of humanitarian supplies to Afghanistan,” he said. (PTI)






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