The first India wheat shipment was warmly welcomed by Afghans into Zaranj City with traditional song, dance and joy.
“It is an important opportunity for regional economic cooperation and today with arrival of this wheat [shipment] we are no longer reliant on one route,” Acting Minster of Agriculture, Nasir Ahmad Duran said.
In a significant sign of trilateral cooperation, the first consignment of wheat from India to Afghanistan was flagged off by Salahuddin Rabbani and his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj on October 29, following President Ashraf Ghani’s one-day visit to New Delhi on October 24.
“We all know that that a particular neighbor of yours to the east has often placed restriction on your transit rights,” Indian Ambassador to Afghanistan, Mr. Manpreet Vohra said.”There is no reason why in 2017 Afghanistan should suffer from this fundamental denial of a fundamental right to a landlocked country which is easy access.”
The envoy added that it was one of the primary reasons for India to join hands with Afghanistan and Iran to find an “alternate assured connectivity” without any political issues “coming in all the time” for Afghanistan.
Describing the opening of Chabahar port significant for development of economic relations between the regional countries, the Iran Ambassador to Afghanistan, Mohammad Reza Bahrami stressed that his country has invested about $1 billion on capacity of the port.
“We believe our region will not be developed unless all countries in the region join hands of friendship and cooperation with each other,” he said.
The shipment through Chabahar comes after the trilateral agreement to develop the port as a transport and transit corridor between India, Iran and Afghanistan.