New Delhi: A major economic summit will likely be held in India within the next two months to attract investment from across the globe for the strategic Chabahar port in Iran which would give India access to Afghanistan bypassing Pakistan, Afghan Ambassador to New Delhi said on Friday.
Referring to the meeting between Shipping, Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari, Iranian Minister of Roads and Urban Development Abbas Akhoundi and Afghanistan’s Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation Mohamadullah Batash on Wednesday, Afghan Ambassador to India Shaida Abdali said its purpose was to expedite the implementation of the Chabahar transit and trade agreement and there were some “very good decisions” taken within that framework.
“We are going to address some of the technical issues involved in the Chabahar agreement and within the next two months we will — in India or Iran, but more likely India — call a major economic summit where all the industries will participate from India, Afghanistan, Iran and from beyond,” the Abdali told reporters here at The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of South Asia.
Abdali said the ministers met in order to deal with the technical issues that are still left to be addressed and the decision was made that India, Afghanistan and Iran will have a secretariat each to deal with those.
“Within a month, the three secretariats will meet again and we will have a technical team sitting again before the major summit that we have. All issues pending will be resolved. Proceduresfor others to invest will be made clear. We will be fully ready for foreign investers…to start business,” he said.
Abdali’s remarks came after Gadkari, following the meeting on Wednesday had said India, Iran and Afghanistan are keen on expediting the tripartite transit agreement on Chabahar port, which will give India access to Afghanistan bypassing Pakistan.
Abdali, while talking about the ambitious project, said, “Our purpose is not to concentrate on the three countries’ business and economic relations but to involve and engage all other neighbours, especially the neighbours in Central Asia and South Asia.” “We would like to give this a much more expansion beyond these countries. We need more investments for the Chabahar port and we need international investments. We hope that the major summit that will be called (possibly) in Delhi will have participation from many countries in the region and around the world to attract more investment to the Chabahar port,” Abdali said.
Expressing optimism, the Afghan envoy said the conference will be a “major step forward” to making Chabahar agreement a “grand success” for the use of many countries in the region.
“Of course, the three countries will be the biggest beneficiaries, but others will be stakeholders as well in terms of the outcome of the Chabahar agreement. But let me emphasise that the Chabahar agreement… we would like (it) to act as a complementing transit route… for the benefit of everyone,” Abdali said.
A “milestone” pact on the strategic Chabahar port in southern Iran was signed in May this year. Besides the bilateral pact to develop the Chabahar port, in which India will invest $500 million, a trilateral Agreement on Transport and Transit Corridor was also signed by India, Afghanistan and Iran.
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