India has earmarked $100 million for the development of Chabahar port in Iran so as to improve trade with Afghanistan and other Central Asian countries, Afghan envoy to India Shaida Mohammad Abdali said.
“Ultimately the port connects Central Asia with South Asia. And we have in-principle agreed. The draft has been circulated, and India has already pledged $100 million for upgrading the port,” Abdali told PTI.
Iran plans to develop the southeastern port of Chabahar with or without India’s cooperation, Iran’s Tasnim News Agency reported recently, citing Ali Jahandideh, the deputy head of the Ports and Maritime Organization.
Jahandideh said that India has raised the issue of investment in Chabahar on the east coast of the Sea of Oman for years but no deal has been signed yet.
The port is of strategic importance to India as Pakistan does not allow transit facility from India to Afghanistan.
Abdali said that because of the problems related to ports in Pakistan, India and Afghanistan decided to use the Chabahar port for import and export of goods.
“So we worked with the Indian government and all the three parties agreed that the Chabahar port will be upgraded and the two countries (India and Afghanistan) can operate and also do business with Iran,” Abdali said.
Chabahar port will provide India an alternative route for trade to Afghanistan, an official of Federation of Indian Exports Organizations had said earlier. Currently, the bilateral trade between India and Afghanistan is pegged at over $600 million.
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