PM Modi – Kashmir Reader

BHUBANESHWAR: Prime Minister Narendra Modi termed India’s signing of a contract to operate Iran’s strategic Chabahar port as a major milestone and said New Delhi will work towards providing connectivity to the landlocked region of Afghanistan and Central Asia to promote trade and commerce.
In an interview with PTI, he said that India will work to promote regional connectivity, trade and commerce not only through Chabahar port but also through the International North South Transport Corridor and also through the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor.
Since coming to power in 2014, Modi said, his government has prioritized Chabahar port. “In 2016, during my visit to Iran, the India-Iran-Afghanistan trilateral agreement was signed to provide much-needed connectivity to Afghanistan.” An Indian company took over the port operations a few years ago and since then it has been used by India to provide “humanitarian aid to Afghanistan, including wheat, pulses, pesticides and medical supplies.”
“The recent signing of the long-term agreement for the development of Chabahar port is an important milestone,” he said.
India had on May 13 signed a 10-year deal to operate the Chabahar port on the Gulf of Oman, providing a gateway for Indian goods to reach landlocked Afghanistan and Central Asia through a road and rail project called International North-South Transport Corridor, bypassing Pakistan. .
“India will ensure that our efforts promote regional connectivity, trade and commerce, including to and from landlocked Afghanistan and the Central Asia region. This is also embedded in our vision to drive connectivity, including through the International North South Transport Corridor, as well as the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor,” Modi said.
The International North South Transport Corridor (INSTC) comprises 7,200 kilometers of sea, rail and road lines crossing numerous borders to help move goods from India to Russia via Iran as an alternative to the conventional Suez Canal route. It connects the Indian Ocean and the Persian Gulf via Iran to the Caspian Sea and then via the Russian Federation to Saint Petersburg and Northern Europe.
“In this era of globalization, connectivity plays an important role. Our endeavor is to provide connectivity, especially to the landlocked countries,” the Prime Minister said. “I have always found great interest among the leaders of the Central Asian countries to use this port to access the sea and connect with India.” The long-term agreement for Chabahar Port was signed by Indian Ports Global Limited (IPGL) and the Port & Maritime Organization of Iran. IPGL will invest approximately $120 million, while another $250 million will be raised as debt.
It replaced an initial 2016 pact covering India’s operations at the Shahid Beheshti terminal at Chabahar port and was renewed annually.
Chabahar port was used by India last year to send 20,000 tonnes of wheat aid to Afghanistan. In 2021, the same was used to supply environmentally friendly pesticides to Iran.