New Delhi: India, Iran and Uzbekistan on Monday discussed ways for joint use of the strategically located Chabahar port for trade and enhancing regional connectivity at their first trilateral dialogue on the issue, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said.
It said the virtual meeting was held as a follow up of decisions taken during talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev of Uzbekistan last week.
Located in the Sistan-Balochistan province on the energy-rich Iran’s southern coast, the Chabahar port is being increasingly seen as a fulcrum of connectivity to Central Asia.
The port is being developed by India, Iran and Afghanistan to boost trade ties among the three countries in the wake of Pakistan denying transit access to New Delhi.
The port can be easily accessed from India’s western coast, bypassing Pakistan.
“During the meeting, the participants discussed joint use of Chabahar Port for trade and transit purposes and enhanced regional connectivity. All sides also noted the significant role played by Chabahar port for the region to deliver humanitarian assistance during the COVID pandemic,” the MEA said in a statement.
“All sides welcomed India’s proposal to hold ‘Chabahar Day’ on the sidelines of the International Maritime Summit scheduled to be hosted by India in January 2021,” it said.
The trilateral meeting took place in the backdrop of India pitching for participation of Uzbekistan in the International North South Transport Corridor (INSTC) project.
The INSTC is a 7,200-km-long multi-mode transport project for moving freight among India, Iran, Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Russia, Central Asia and Europe.
Ways to speed up connectivity projects linking central Asia was a major focus of the virtual summit between Modi and Mirziyoyev on December 11.
The trilateral meeting was jointly chaired by India’s Shipping Secretary Sanjeev Ranjan, Deputy Minister of Transport of Uzbekistan D Dehkanov and Deputy Transport Minister of Iran Shahram Adamnejad, according to the MEA.
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