New Delhi: A crucial trilateral meeting of officials from India, Afghanistan and Iran on the strategically-important Chabahar port was held on Monday during which they agreed on the routes for trade and transit corridors between the three countries.
The first meeting of the follow-up committee for implementation of the trilateral Chabahar agreement between India, Afghanistan and Iran at the level of joint secretary or director general was held in the Iranian port city of Chabahar, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said.
On the occasion, India Ports Global Limited company opened its office and took over operations at the Shaheed Behesti port at Chabahar.
Positive and constructive discussions were held between the three sides on full operationalisation of the Trilateral Transit Agreement for international transit and transport through the Chabahar Port. They agreed on the routes for the trade and transit corridors between the three countries, the MEA said.
It was agreed to finalise at the earliest, the protocol to harmonise transit, roads, customs, and consular matters.
During the meeting, it was agreed to allow cargo movement at Chabahar using Transports Internationaux Routiers Convention provisions, the MEA said.
It was decided to hold an event to promote and popularise the potential of Chabahar on February 26, 2019.
A study would also be initiated for determining measures to make the route attractive, decrease logistic costs and pave the way for smooth operationalisation of the Chabahar Agreement.
The next Follow-up Committee meeting, followed by the second Coordination Council Meeting at the level of secretaries or deputy ministers, will held in India.
In May 2016, India, Iran and Afghanistan inked a pact which entailed establishment of Transit and Transport Corridor among the three countries using Chabahar Port as one of the regional hubs for sea transportation in Iran, besides multi-modal transport of goods and passengers across the three nations.
The port in the Sistan-Balochistan province on the energy-rich nation's southern coast is easily accessible from India's western coast and is increasingly seen as a counter to Pakistan's Gwadar Port, which is being developed with Chinese investment and is located at distance of around 80 km from Chabahar.
The Chabahar Port is considered a gateway to golden opportunities for trade by India, Iran and Afghanistan with central Asian countries besides ramping up trade among the three countries after Pakistan denied transit access to India.