India and Afghanistan today called for expediting a trilateral pact using Chabahar port in Iran to boost regional connectivity.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and visiting Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during their talks here, stressed that expediting the pact would also augment connectivity among the three nations.
“Expeditious implementation of the trilateral agreement involving Afghanistan, India and Iran, signed in May 2016, using Chabahar will augment connectivity within and of the region,” a joint statement said here.
The leaders appreciated the recent decision taken by the three countries to convene a joint forum involving important stakeholders, including from business and industry, it added.
“Both leaders welcomed intensification in the interaction involving India and Afghanistan with regional and other countries and international organisations to foster peace, stability and development in Afghanistan,” the statement said.
A “milestone” pact on the strategic Chabahar Port in southern Iran, which will give India access to Afghanistan and Europe bypassing Pakistan, was inked by India and Iran in May this year after detailed discussions between Modi and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.
Besides the bilateral pact to develop the Chabahar port for which India will invest $500 million, a trilateral Agreement on Transport and Transit Corridor was also signed by India, Afghanistan and Iran, which Prime Minister Modi has said could “alter the course of the history of the region”.
The trilateral pact, linked to Chabahar port development, was signed later by India, Iran and Afghanistan in the presence of Modi, Rouhani and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.
The key agreement signed was a contract for development of Phase I of the Chabahar port on the southern coast of Iran by an Indian joint venture.
Chabahar port, located in the Sistan-Balochistan province on the energy-rich Persian Gulf nation’s southern coast, lies outside the Persian Gulf and is easily accessed from India’s western coast, bypassing Pakistan.
“The bilateral agreement to develop the Chabahar port and related infrastructure and availability of about $500 million from India for this purpose is an important milestone,” Modi had said in joint media interaction with Rouhani.