“INSTC is an important trade corridor project, wherein India is partnering with 12 countries to establish an economic corridor for the benefit of our peoples. We also welcome the interest of Uzbekistan and Afghanistan to join the multilateral corridor project. Establishing an eastern corridor through Afghanistan would maximize its potential,” Foreign Minister S Jaishankar affirmed while addressing the Chabahar Day at the India Maritime Summit.
“India has also proposed the inclusion of Chabahar in the INSTC route. I am hopeful that during the INSTC Coordination Council meeting, member states would agree to the expansion of the INSTC route to include the Chabahar Port and also agree on expanding the membership of this project,” he said.
INSTC is aimed at bringing down time taken for trade between India and Russia and may also enable smoother connectivity with Eurasia and Central Asia. It is one of the key connectivity corridors in the region where Russia has proposed greater Eurasian connectivity.
Elaborating on India’s role in Chabahar Port, the minister recalled, “The government of India, recognising the importance of regional connectivity, made a landmark decision to undertake an overseas port investment in Chabahar. While this project had been under discussion for some time, it was during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Iran in 2016 that a Trilateral Agreement to establish an International Transport and Transit Corridor that was signed by India, Iran and Afghanistan.”
The transport and transit corridor is intended to ensure the unhindered flow of commerce throughout the region and to create a safe, secure and reliable route to trade initially with Afghanistan, and thereafter with Central Asia as a whole, Jaishankar said, adding, that the establishment and operations of India Ports Global Limited at Shahid Behesti Port in Chabahar is the practical realisation of this important initiative.
“Today’s event reflects India’s strong commitment to work together with all regional stakeholders to enhance connectivity in our region and to provide unhindered access to the sea to landlocked Central Asian countries through Chabahar….event also commemorates five years of the signing of the Tripartite Agreement on the establishment of a Trilateral Transport and Transit Corridor.”
The Chabahar port has not only emerged as a commercial transit hub for the region but also facilitated the delivery of humanitarian assistance, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic. India has utilised the Chabahar port to ship 75,000 MT of wheat as humanitarian food assistance to Afghanistan in September 2020. India also assisted Iran to fight the worst ever locust invasion in the last 25 years by supplying 25 Metric tonnes of Malathion in June 2020, again through the Chabahar port. The second batch of 25 Metric tonnes has recently reached Chabahar Port.
Besides the Indian exports of food products, the port has also handled several shipments and trans-shipments from Russia, Brazil, Thailand, Germany, Ukraine and the UAE.