News ID: 302372
Published: 0246 GMT April 21, 2021

Iran, Pakistan open third border crossing in ‘historic achievement’

Iran, Pakistan open third border crossing in ‘historic achievement’

Iran and Pakistan opened their third official border crossing with the aim of facilitating business and trade exchanges and creating new job opportunities for their border residents.

Pakistani Minister for Defense Production Zubaida Jalal and Iran's Minister of Roads and Urban Development Mohammad Eslami traveled from their capitals to the border to open the Pishin-Mand crossing on Wednesday, Press TV reported.

This is the second border crossing being opened between Iran and Pakistan since they threw open the Rimdan-Gabd gateway in December.       

The new opening comes as Pakistans Minister of Foreign Affairs Shah Mehmood Qureshi is visiting Tehran.

The opening of the Pishin-Mand crossing is a great and historic achievement for the two countries, which shows the commitment of the government of Imran Khan to strengthen relations with Iran,” IRNA quoted Jalal as saying at the opening.

The Pakistani minister said besides enhancing trade, travel and people to people contacts between Pakistan and Iran, this new crossing point would facilitate the movement of pilgrims from Pakistan by providing them an alternate route, according to a press release observed by Iran Daily.

It will serve the common interests of Iran and Pakistan, she said, pledging to use the capacity of the Pakistan ministry of defense to expand comprehensive cooperation on border management and boosting economic and defense relations. 

Jalal said Tehran and Islamabad are on the path of deepening long-standing relations, and the increase in their border crossings manifests their determination and commitment to strengthen relations and improve the lives of their border residents.

One of the goals of Pakistan's foreign policy and the government of Prime Minister Imran Khans vision is to develop relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran. We see the opening of the third official border with our neighbor as part of achieving this goal,” IRNA quoted her as saying.

The general Baluchistan area is an extensive plateau of rough terrain situated between Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan, rife with a number of militant groups which often engage in armed banditry, drug trafficking and other subversive acts. 

"Increasing the number of border crossings, while facilitating the achievement of common interests between Iran and Pakistan, will provide new job opportunities for border residents," Pakistani Foreign Ministry spokesman Zahid Hafiz Chaudhry told media in Islamabad.

Eslami said the gateways will transform cross-border exchanges and trade with Pakistan. "The addition of two official terminals for trade exchanges as well as six official border markets will help us move towards a good business,” he said.

Iran and Pakistan share 959 kilometers of border, which depended on the Mirjaveh-Taftan crossing for travel and trade exchange until last December.

The inauguration of the Rimdan-Gabd crossing point, about 130km from the strategic Iranian port of Chabahar, has created a new momentum in exchange of goods between the two neighbors.

Pakistani citizens can now reach Chabahar, from where they can travel by plane or train to other cities across Iran, including the holy cities of Qom and Mashhad.

The crossing is also only 70km from the Pakistani port of Gwadar which is being developed through the $60 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor to link with Xinjiang Province.

Pishin is the southernmost gateway in Irans Sistan and Baluchestan Province to Pakistan, marked by its proximity to many Pakistani towns and cities. It is only 20km from Mand, 120km from Torbat and 600km from Pakistans largest city and port of Karachi which will be reduced to 400 km with the construction of a new road.

There is also a railway plan in the works, where Iran, Pakistan and Turkey seek to revive a line connecting Istanbul to Tehran and Islamabad and ultimately extend it to China.

The three countries launched a container train service in 2009, but it only got as far as test runs and was never fully operational. Even so, they always planned to follow up the initial freight trains with passenger services and are now willing to launch the ITI transnational line with the aim of enhancing connectivity with China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

The railroad service, stretching for 6,540km, will cut the 21-day journey between Pakistan and Turkey by sea to 10 days. And by extension, it will connect to China's Xinjiang autonomous region which is populated by ethnically Turkic Uighur Muslims.

In February, Iran and Turkey signed three documents to expand transnational rail services linking them to Pakistan, Afghanistan and China.

Islamic Republic of Iran Railways (IRIR) Managing Director Saeid Rasouli and his Turkish counterpart Ali Ihsan Uygun signed the papers in Ankara to maximize freight and passenger transport.

Both the rail route connecting China to southern Europe and Turkey-Afghanistan and Turkey-Pakistan rail links as well as the connection of Iran's southern ports to Turkey will be accelerated and operationalized by the signing of these documents,” Rasouli said.

He said the Istanbul-Tehran-Islamabad (ITI) transnational railroad is expected to enhance connectivity with China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) by providing a rail connection between China and Turkey.

Iran, Turkey and Pakistan are the founders of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), currently a 10-member political and economic intergovernmental organization established in 1985.


 

   
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