‘Ready to provide facilities…’: Taliban backs usage of India-built Chabahar port

New Delhi: The Taliban regime in Afghanistan has supported the use of India-made Chabahar in Iran and said it is ready to provide “facilities”. A statement released by the Taliban’s foreign ministry “welcomed” the proposal to include Chabahar Port in the North-South International Transport Corridor that connects Mumbai with Moscow and passes through Iran and Azerbaijan. The statement highlighted that the regime is “ready to provide all necessary security and facilities in this regard.” India is developing the first phase of Shahid Beheshti Port in Chabahar and has invested $85 million in the project as it gives it major connectivity to the entire region, especially landlocked Central Asia. It has also supplied 6 mobile harbor cranes – two 140 ton and four 100 ton capacities and other equipment worth $25 million.

In the past this port has been used to send humanitarian consignments to Afghanistan. India used the Chabahar port to send 75,000 metric tonnes of wheat as humanitarian food aid to Afghanistan in 2020. Since December 2018, when Indian company India Ports Global Limited (IPGL) took over operations, the port has handled 215 vessels and 4 million tonnes of bulk. and general cargo.

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The Taliban’s comments on the Chabahar port come as it has been keen on Indian investments and the revival of Indian infrastructure and development projects in the country. The Taliban called for Indian investment in the construction of a new Kabul city during a meeting between Minister of Urban Development and Housing (MUDH) Hamdullah Nomani and Bharat Kumar, head of India’s technical team in the country.

The Taliban statement comes after the India-Central Asia National Security Advisors meeting, which took place in Delhi earlier this week, with the main focus being on the situation in Afghanistan and connectivity. The statement welcomed the meeting and commended the joint communique of the meeting which expressed “support for a stable, peaceful, unified and secure Afghanistan and the principle of non-interference in Afghanistan’s internal affairs”.

In the statement, the Taliban assured that it was “committed and will not allow anyone from the soil of Afghanistan to pose a threat to the region and the world or interfere in other’s internal affairs”. Concerns remain about Afghanistan becoming a safe haven for international terror groups, and India is concerned that Pakistan-based UN-designated terror groups such as JeM and Lashkar could find space in the war-torn country.

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Delhi hosted the India-Central Asia National Security Advisor (NSA) for the first time on Tuesday. The meeting was one of the key outcomes of the India-Central Asia Virtual Summit held in January. The Taliban hopes to invite her to the next meeting in Kazakhstan in May 2023, where her presence will “help in security, combating human and drug trafficking, cooperation in providing humanitarian aid to the people of Afghanistan, and building trust”. will help.” and especially in the implementation of infrastructure projects.”