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Iran, India, Afghanistan to ink joint agreement

Staff writer |
Afghan Foreign Ministry Spokesman Shakib Mostaghni announced that Tehran, Kabul and New Delhi are due to sign a joint agreement soon which will pave the way for Afghanistan to reach out to India through Chabahar port in Southern Iran.

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Mr. Mostaghni said in his weekly press conference that his country is trying to gain access to the Black Sea through Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Georgia. Iran's Chabahar Port, located 72 kilometers (44 miles) West of Pakistan's Gwadar port, holds immense strategic and economic significance for India.

In relevant remarks in February, Indian Ambassador to Tehran Shri D.P. Srivastava underlined the fruitfulness of Chabahar port for India that is planning to set up a direct shipping route to the Iranian port in a bid to decrease freight prices and delivery time.

During a meeting between Iranian Minister of Road and Urban Development Abbas Akhoundi and an Indian delegation of experts in Tehran, the envoy said an Indian private company is ready to establish a direct shipping link between Chabahar and Indian ports in order to bypass Dubai where Indian container ships have to cross to reach Iran.

The Indian diplomat said the capital investment initially envisaged for the construction of a container terminal in Chabahar stands at $147m. Srivastava described Chabahar as a strategic port facilitating access to Central Asian states.

Also last month, Indian External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid reiterated the vital importance of Iran's port city of Chabahar for his country, saying the port is the most cost-effective route for New Delhi to reach the Central Asian markets.

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