Afghanistan, Iran and India ready to sign Chabahar seaport agreement on May 23, 2016
Afghanistan, Iran and India ready to sign the Chabahar seaport agreement to establish an international transport and transit corridor. The agreement is expected to be signed on May 23, 2016 by the leaders of the three countries as the Indian Prime Minister and President of Afghanistan are due to visit Tehran. “Afghanistan, India & Iran will sign the Chabahar Agreement on Establishment of the International Transport & Transit Corridor tomorrow,” the President of Afghanistan twitted. Meanwhile, a Twitter post by the Indian Prime Narendra Modi, stated “I am looking forward to my visit to Iran today & tomorrow, at the invitation of President Rouhani.” Modi further added “My meetings with President Rouhani and Honorable Supreme Leader of Iran will provide an opportunity to advance our strategic partnership. I also look forward to the conclusion of the Chahbahar Agreement during my visit.” The draft agreement for Chabahar port was finalized during a meeting organized in Ministry of External Affairs of India in mid-April this year. Access to Afghanistan’s Garland Highway can be made from Chahbahar port using the existing Iranian road network and the Zaranj-Delaram road, constructed by India in 2009. This would establish a direct road access to four of the major cities of Afghanistan – Herat, Kandahar, Kabul, and Mazar-e-Sharif. The port will be also used to ship crude oil and urea, saving India transportation costs. It will also cut transport costs and freight time for India to Central Asia and the Gulf by about a third.