0444 GMT April 22, 2021
During the meeting, the participants discussed joint use of Chabahar port for trade and transit purposes and enhanced regional connectivity, according to Fars News Agency.
The meeting was held virtually and co-chaired by Iranian Deputy Roads and Urban Development Minister Shahram Adamnejad, Indian Ports Ministry Secretary Sanjeev Ranjan, and Uzbek Deputy Transport Minister Davron Dexkanov.
All sides also noted the significant role played by Chabahar port for the region to deliver humanitarian assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic.
India proposed to hold a “Chabahar Day” on the sidelines of the upcoming Indian-hosted International Maritime Summit and the other participants welcomed it, the Indian Foreign Ministry said in a press release.
Chabahar port is strategically located on Iran’s energy-rich southeastern coast in the Gulf of Oman and is connected to Afghanistan by railroad. For India, it is a convenient route to trade with landlocked Central Asian countries bypassing Pakistan.
Uzbekistan’s involvement in the project was a proposal put forward by Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev at a virtual meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi last week.
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.