Ahead of concluding a trilateral agreement on transport and transit corridor among India, Afghanistan and Iran, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a meeting with Afghan President Dr. Ashraf Ghani here on Monday.
The meeting took place on the sidelines of the Prime Minister’s visit to Tehran at the invitation of Iranian President Dr. Hassan Rouhani.
“A trilateral agreement on transport and transit corridor among India, Afghanistan and Iran will be signed at a separate event, highlighting the significance that India attaches to developing connectivity using Chabahar as a regional hub,” said Gopal Baglay, Joint Secretary (PAI), at a media briefing in New Delhi on May 21.
“The trilateral agreement using Chabahar-Zahedan-Zaranj as a corridor will be a game changer for regional connectivity, especially for Afghanistan, which can find an assured and reliable alternative access to India via sea. The route will also significantly enhance prospects for India’s connectivity with Afghanistan, Central Asia and beyond through synergies with other initiatives touching the region such as North-South transport corridor. The agreement is going to be signed at a high level, at ministerial level,” added Baglay.
Speaking to ANI here on Sunday, Minister for Road Transport and Highways and Shipping Nitin Gadkari termed the signing of trilateral agreement “historic”.
“India, Afghanistan and Iran are entering into an agreement for strategic transport development, which is also a historical development,” he said.
“If we have to go Afghanistan, then we have to go via Pakistan, but today with the opening of a new gate, we can expand our trade from Afghanistan to Russia to Europe. This will be beneficial to both India and Iran,” he added.
“The distance between Kandla port in Kutch District of Gujarat and Chabahar, seaport in Chah Bahar in southeastern Iran, is lesser than the distance between Delhi and Mumbai, which will also increase our port business,” said Gadkari.