Chabahar Port aids Indian trade

Chabahar Port Indian goods will be granted preferential treatment and tariff reductions at Iran’s Chabahar Port. Image courtesy of Ksardar1359/Wikimedia

An agreement which allows Indian goods to bypass Pakistan has been declared “strategically and commercially very important.”

India, Iran and Afghanistan’s agreement to allow Indian goods destined for Central Asia and Afghanistan to be given preferential treatment and tariff reductions at Iran’s Chabahar Port provides a resolution to the restrictions placed by Pakistan on road transportation between India and Afghanistan.

Shailesh Garg, director, general manager India at Drewry, pointed out that India and Afghanistan recently started an air corridor to overcome the restrictions, and the agreement at the port, located in southeastern Iran, on the Gulf of Oman, will help India’s plans to invest in Afghanistan and “play a proactive role in its redevelopment programme.”

Gateway for goods

He explained the port’s receptiveness to trade had further benefits for Afghanistan: “Chabahar can now become the gateway for transporting aid material to landlocked country and similarly it can be used for exporting the raw material and finished products out of Afghanistan. This will reduce Afghanistan’s dependence on Pakistani ports.”

A transport agreement between Iran and India has recently enabled the completion of an extension at Chabahar, part of a series of projects to expand the port.

Chabahar will help India expand its market in Central Asia and it could be part of the North-South Trade Corridor (INSTC), which would connect India, Iran, and Russia through Central Asia, Mr Garg said.

Chabahar is also seen by India as an initiative to counter China’s Belt Road Initiative (BRI) and its investment in Pakistan’s Gwadar Port, he added.

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