Test for India’s diplomacy: First shipment via Chabahar Port from Afghanistan to arrive in a month’s time

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New Delhi | Published: January 28, 2019 5:24:33 PM

According to the Ministry of foreign affairs and transport of Afghanistan, this cargo will be shipped as a pilot from Afghanistan to India.

Chabahar Port, Afghanistan,Iran, International Road Transports, UNSCThe port is crucial for India?s connectivity to Afghanistan and to Central Asia and International North-South Transport Corridor that connects Mumbai to Moscow. (Reuters)

First cargo of five containers weighing 22 tons each and carrying Moong Beans from Afghanistan through Chabahar Port in Iran is expected to reach India in a month or so. The delivery of these five container cargos will be carried out under the International Road Transports’ TIR system.

According to the Ministry of foreign affairs and transport of Afghanistan, this cargo will be shipped as a pilot from Afghanistan to India.

Husne Mubarak Azizi, head of foreign affairs and Ministry of Transport of Afghanistan has stated that, “TIR streamlines procedures at borders, reducing the administrative burden for customs authorities and for transport and logistics companies. It cuts border waiting times significantly, saving time and money.”

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TIR authorised operators can move goods quickly across multiple customs territories, under customs control, using a single guarantee. Harmonised systems and data exchange tools mean that operators only need to submit their declaration data once for the entire transit movement.

Each TIR transport from start to end of the journey is monitored online, so goods can be traced and secured while in transit.

In the first ever, India took over operations of a port in a foreign country. The development comes close on the heels of India taking over operations at the port, when the commercial operations took off with the arrival of a Cyprus registered bulk carrier with 72458 MT of corn cargo. New Delhi has decided that every two weeks regular ships from three Indian ports including — Mumbai, Kandla and Mundra will now regularly go to the Iranian port.

The US has exempted the Chabahar Port in Iran from its sanctions. Last year, Afghanistan’s Permanent Representative to the UN Mahmoud Saikal had told the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) that, “The Chabahar Port is an important gateway for providing commercially viable access to the sea linking the Indian Ocean with Afghanistan, Central Asia and beyond. In this regard, we appreciate the collaboration and flexibility of our strategic partner, the US to work with Afghanistan, Iran and India towards exempting the port from its Sanctions.”

In an official release, the director general of Sistan-Baluchestan Ports and Maritime Organisation Behrouz Aqayee has said that “With the arrival of the first 3700TEU container at Shahid Beheshti Chabahar port, for the first time, the shipping line between the ports of Mumbai-Mundra-Kandla have opened”.

The port is crucial for India’s connectivity to Afghanistan and to Central Asia and International North-South Transport Corridor that connects Mumbai to Moscow. The port is very important for landlocked Afghanistan which is keen to get connect itself with international markets.

Ambassador of Kazakhstan to India Bulat Sarsenbayev had told Financial Express Online in an earlier interaction: “We are working on a proposal for a railway network from the Chabahar Port in Iran: Iran-Turkmenistan-Kazakhstan railway network and onwards as this will help in enhancing trade in the region. The idea is to have a consortium of India-Iran-Kazakh and Russia, for laying a railway line that will carry the goods once they reach the port in Iran.”

As has been reported by the Financial Express Online earlier, through the joint efforts of India, Iran and Afghanistan there has been a development of the Chabahar Port in Iran as a viable route to connect to Afghanistan and potentially to Central Asia. India has also offered Development partnership to Central Asian countries, with the plans of having concrete projects in the region, inter alia, under our Lines of Credit and Buyers’ Credit, and by sharing expertise.

The Central Asian countries will be participating in the forthcoming Chabahar Day International Conference in Chabahar on 26 February, 2019.

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