[In a world where war prevails, it is understandable that we do not yet know whether it is peace which makes commerce possible, or it is improved commerce that creates the necessary conditions for peace. Building a billion dollar port facility like Chabahar, on the belief in the not yet seen is commendable, but it is foolish, given the current status of the war next door. If better commerce really creates a popular demand for peace, then Chabahar may bring peace to Afghanistan…sure it will.]
Afghanistan’s Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation Mahmoud Balighi said Iran’s Chabahar port was of critical importance for his country.
Speaking to IRNA on Sunday, he said: “The port which is situated in southeastern Iran is of very vital significance for Afghanistan and regional trade.”
He also said the planned five-party railway link is also important for Afghanistan as it passes through Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and China and then travels to Turkey thus connecting all these countries to Europe.
He said the railway which will run for 1,100 km inside Afghanistan will further facilitate access of Afghan businessmen to Chabahar port.
Balighi said the countries involved in the railway network have already signed an agreement to this effect.
Since Afghanistan is a landlocked territory, the minister added, the government is determined to use the railway networks to gain access to international waters.
“That is why Iran’s Chabahar port is strategically very important for Afghanistan because the tri-lateral contract signed by Iran, Afghanistan and India will help boost trade exchanges,” he added.
In May, Tehran, New Delhi and Afghanistan signed an epoch-making agreement in Tehran to establish a transit and transportation corridor.
The agreement known as Chabahar Trilateral Agreement was signed by the three countries’ officials in the presence of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, his Afghan counterpart Mohammad Ashraf Ghani and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Tehran.
The trilateral Chabahar agreement will considerably increase making use of Chabahar port that will connect India to Central Asia through Afghanistan and instead will provide Afghanistan’s access to India via sea.