India, Afghanistan and Iran signed on Monday a tripartite agreement for a transport corridor that will open up a new route to Afghanistan via the Iranian port of Chabahar.
Under the deal, India will offer a US$500 million line of credit to develop Chabahar into a regional trading hub.
The port will help India bypass Pakistan to transport goods to Afghanistan and central Asia.
“To carve out new routes for peace and prosperity is our common goal,” Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in Tehran following the signing of the landmark accord.
“Afghanistan will get an assured, effective and a more friendly route to trade with the rest of the world,” he said, in veiled criticism of Pakistan.
The agreement comes as Beijing is building a US$46 billion economic corridor with Pakistan’s Gwadar port as its focal point, the Wall Street Journal noted.
India opposes construction of part of that corridor in an area of the disputed Kashmir region that is governed by Pakistan but claimed by India.
– Contact us at [email protected]