Afghanistan urges India to speed up Chabahar port development

Islamabad, Sep 12, IRNA - Afghanistan's foreign minister asked India to speed up development of Chabahar port in Iran to open a trade route for land-locked Central Asian countries that would bypass Pakistan.

According to Pakistan's media, Afghan Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani also asked India to expand an air freight corridor introduced between the two countries to provide greater access for Afghan goods to the Indian market.

Swaraj, who hosted Rabbani in New Delhi, told reporters that India and Afghanistan jointly agreed to embark on a “new development partnership” in keeping with Afghanistan's priorities.

The Afghan foreign minister said the two countries reaffirmed their resolve to strengthen their security and defense cooperation, but did not give any details.

Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said that India would speed up the port development and begin supplying wheat to Afghanistan within weeks through Chabahar.

Chabahar port would allow India to transport goods to Afghanistan by sea. Pakistan currently does not allow India to transport through its territory to Afghanistan.

Last year, India committed up to $500 million for the development of the Chabahar port along with associated roads and rail lines.