National Defence Bureau,
New Delhi, 03 December 2017
Minister of State (Shipping) Pon Radhakrishnan represented India at the inauguration of the Phase 1 of the Shahid Beheshti Port at Chabahar, Iran on 3 December 2017.
Dr. Hassan Rouhani, the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran presided over the inauguration ceremony which was attended by Ministers, Ambassadors and senior officials primarily from countries of the region.
During his two day visit on 2-3 December 2017, Radhakrishnan represented India in the 2nd meeting of the India-Iran-Afghanistan Ministerial-level Trilateral Meeting on Chabahar Port Development and involving the respective Ministers of Iran and Afghanistan. The inaugural Trilateral meeting was held in September 2016 in New Delhi.
In the Trilateral meeting with Iranian Transport Minister Dr Abbas Akhoundi and the Afghanistan Trade and Commerce Minister Humayoon Rasaw, the three sides reviewed and positively assessed the progress in the development of Chabahar Port and reiterated their commitment to complete and operationalise the Port at the earliest that would contribute to bilateral and regional trade and economic development and also provide alternate access to landlocked Afghanistan to regional and global markets.
The three sides also commended the recent joint efforts which led to the transit of first tranche of 110000 tonnes of wheat from India to Afghanistan through the Chabahar Port. The Ministers agreed to further intensify efforts on issues concerning regional connectivity and focusing on Chabahar Port development under the Trilateral Transit and Trade Agreement at the Trilateral Meeting. MoS (Shipping) expressed his positive appreciation to the Iranian side on the recent steps taken towards ratification by the Majlis of Iran on the Trilateral Transit and Trade Agreement signed in May 2016 between India, Iran and Afghanistan.
The completion of the internal procedures on the ratification process by Iran is expected to lead to full and early operationalisation of the Transit and Trade arrangement between the three countries though the Chabahar Port. It is expected that a trilateral coordination meeting of senior officials will be convened at the earliest.
Shailesh Kumar is an independent journalist with over 15 years of experience in crime, political and defence reporting for leading media brands including Star News, India TV and NewsX. He is the founder editor of defence and security news portal, National Defence.