India on Sunday began shipment of wheat to Afghanistan through the Iranian port of Chabahar. A press release from the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) noted that the consignment would be the first to use the new route via Chabahar to access Afghanistan, even as India plans similar transfers in the coming months.
- “The shipment of wheat is a landmark moment as it will pave the way for operationalisation of the Chabahar port as an alternative, reliable and robust connectivity for Afghanistan. It will open up new opportunities for trade and transit from and to Afghanistan and enhance trade and commerce between the three countries (India, Iran and Afghanistan) and the wider region.
- It pledged that Kabul will receive the entire amount in six different instalments over the coming months.
- The move is significant as it indicates India remains firm in delivering on its regional commitment through partnership with Iran, despite Tehran’s ongoing tension with the United States.
- The use of Chabahar for wheat transhipment indicates the firming up of an alternative route to extend necessary support to Afghanistan, in the absence of overland transit rights by Pakistan.
- The move also indicates that Chahbahar that India has been developing for some years, will soon be fully operational. India had earlier sent goods through the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas in 2003 as Pakistan had not eased land access to Afghanistan.