0752 GMT April 23, 2021
The trilateral working group meeting will be jointly chaired by deputy ministers of Iran and Uzbekistan and a secretary from India, Hindustan Times reported.
The announcement came a day after Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev proposed during a summit with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi that a trilateral meeting should be held with Iran to promote the Chabahar port.
According to the website of the Indian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the country welcomes Uzbekistan’s interest in using Chabahar port, in southeastern Iran, as a transit port, which provides economic opportunities for traders in the region.
In addition to Uzbekistan, other Central Asian countries have shown interest in using the port.
“This would open up economic opportunities for traders and the business community of the region. Besides Uzbekistan, other Central Asian countries have also shown interest in using the port. India seeks to cooperate closely with regional countries on this issue,” the statement by the Indian ministry said.
India currently operates one of the terminals of Chabahar port and offers loading and unloading services in the mentioned terminal.
“The strategic project has been given a waiver from sanctions imposed by the US on Iran in view of its importance in shipping cargo and humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan,” the report highlighted.
Following an India-Uzbekistan Summit on Friday, Adarsh Swaika, joint secretary (Eurasia) in the Indian External Affairs Ministry, said the two sides had discussed how to overcome the lack of overland connectivity.
Mirziyoyev gave his in-principle concurrence to joining the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) when Modi reiterated a proposal on Uzbekistan’s participation in the project.
“We would welcome any initiative that increases connectivity between Afghanistan and Uzbekistan, or with other Central Asian countries,” Swaika said.
The only Iranian oceanic port, Chabahar is a strategic port with unique opportunities that can attract investments from Iranian and foreign private sectors.
The development of Chabahar port is important for the economic development of regional countries and, in this regard, endorsing regional agreements with neighboring countries is significant for Iran, so that it can increase its transit share to connect the shores of the Indian Ocean to Russia, northern Central Asia, and the Caucasus.