TEHRAN (Tasnim) Afghanistan has started exporting goods to India through Irans southeastern port city of Chabahar, Afghan officials said. – World news –

They said 23 trucks carrying 57 tons of dried fruits, textiles, carpets and mineral products were dispatched from the western Afghan city of Zaranj to Iran’s Chabahar port on Sunday.

The consignment will be shipped to the Indian city of Mumbai, Reuters reported.

At the inauguration of the new export route, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said his country was slowly improving its exports in a bid to reduce its trade deficit.

“Chabahar port is the result of healthy cooperation between India, Iran and Afghanistan, this will ensure economic growth,” he said.

The Iranian port of Chabahar provides easy access to the sea to Afghanistan.

Chabahar is the closest and best access point of Iran to the Indian Ocean and Iran has devised serious plans to turn it into a transit hub for immediate access to markets in the northern part of the Indian Ocean and Central Asia.

The governments of Iran, Afghanistan, and India in May 2016 signed the Chabahar Agreement, which is a regional transport network initiative.

It aims to create a reliable transport corridor for the smooth transport and transit of goods and services through Chabahar Port between the three countries.

India Ports Global and Aria Banader Iranian Port signed a deal in 2016 to equip and operate containers and multi-purpose terminals at Shahid Beheshti port in Chabahar with the capital investment of $85.21 million and annual revenue expenditure of $ 22.95 million on a 10-year lease.

In 2018, the US government granted an exception to certain American sanctions that allowed development of Chabahar port as part of a new transportation corridor designed to boost Afghanistan’s economy and meet its needs of non-sanctionable goods such as food and medicines.

India has sent 1.1 million tons of wheat and 2,000 tons of lentils to Afghanistan through Chabahar.

Both countries established an air corridor in 2017. Afghan exports to India stood at $740 million in 2018, making it the largest export destination, officials said.

In comments in January, Iran’s ambassador to New Delhi lauded the growing investment that Indians have been making in Chabahar.

Pointing to the ample opportunities available for expansion of economic relations between Iran and India, Ali Chegini highlighted the significant role that Iran’s Chabahar port plays in economic cooperation between the two countries.

“The Port of Chabahar has a special and extraordinary position with great economic, political and security advantages, and is of significance for us, for India, for Afghanistan and for Central Asia in terms of security protection,” he said, adding that India is seriously resolved to cooperate with Iran in Chabahar.

The facilities and incentives that Iran has provided for investors in the port city would attract the Indians, the envoy stressed, noting that the Indian government has not set any ceiling on investment in Chabahar and has even made more investment than what has been announced.

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