TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) -India has sent a ship of wheat to Iran to be transited to Afghanistan in what appears to be a dry run of a new multi-modal trade route that dodges Pakistan.
The ship arrived in Iran’s southeastern port of Chabahar from India’s western port of Kandla Wednesday morning carrying 640 containers of wheat with a total weight of 15,000 tonnes.
Indian officials, as reported by media, said the country’s maiden commercial shipment to Afghanistan through Iran was “a landmark moment”.
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi wrote on Twitter that the launch of the trade route "marks a new chapter in regional cooperation and connectivity."
India’s Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj and her Afghan counterpart Salahuddin Rabbani were reported to have flagged off the shipment of wheat from India to Afghanistan via video conferencing.
Iran’s IRNA news agency quoted a local port official as saying that more shipments were expected to arrive and that the final cargo to be sent to Afghanistan would be 5,000 containers of wheat with a total weight of 110,000 tonnes.
The cargo – which New Delhi would provide Kabul on a grant basis – would then depart for the Afghan border and thereon to Kabul by road, IRNA added.
This would create a unique opportunity for India to send its goods to landlocked Afghanistan through a safe route, the official said, adding that it would to the same effect enable Afghan merchants to export their commodities – mainly fruits and vegetables as well as nuts and minerals – to global markets through Chabahar.
India signed a deal with Iran in 2003 to develop Chabahar through an investment that could amount to $500 million. Located on the confluence of the Indian Ocean and the Sea of Oman in southeastern Iran, Chabahar is India's first foreign port project. Once completed, the project would enable India to send its goods from Chabahar to Afghanistan, Central Asia and beyond.
Source: Press Tv