India considering trade with central Asia through Chabahar: Indian FM

February 7, 2020 - 14:5

TEHRAN - Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said on Thursday that his country could enhance trade with Central Asia via Iran’s Chabahar port, IRNA reported, citing India’s NDTV.

Pointing to the lack of efficient overland connectivity between India and the Central Asian countries, Jaishankar said the two regions should examine the viability of establishing air corridors between them to boost trade and economic engagement.

The official proposed using the route passing through the Chabahar Port as a solution to overcome this lack of overland connectivity, saying: "Clearly, a great potential exists in enhancing trade and economic engagement between India and Central Asia. There is the challenge of a lack of efficient overland connectivity. India proposes to overcome this challenge through the Chabahar route." 

"India, Iran, and Afghanistan believe that Chabahar will become the fulcrum of connectivity for Indian goods to reach Afghanistan and further north to the Central Asian states," Jaishankar said in his speech at the India-Central Asia Business Council at the industry body Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).
Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan are part of Central Asia. 

In the budget presented last week, the Indian government doubled the fund for the Chabahar Port allocating Rs 100 crore (about $14 million) for fiscal 2020-21.

"It [the budget allocation] shows India's commitment towards the development of Chabahar and our determination to develop it as a viable connectivity option," Jaishankar said.

"We should also examine the viability of establishing air corridors between India and the Central Asian states," he added.

Iran has awarded the development project of this port to India, and the South Asian country committed $500 million to build two new berths in this port.

In the recent meeting of the India-Iran joint economic commission, Jaishanakar and his Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif promised to expand cooperation.

EF/MA
 

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