1st meeting of India-Central Asia JWG on Chabahar focuses on wheat assistance to Afghanistan

Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], April 14 (ANI): The first meeting of the India-Central Asia Joint Working Group (JWG) on Chabahar Port was held in Mumbai on April 12-13, 2023 and the joint statement laid emphasis on the active participation of the private sector and wheat assistance to Afghanistan.

The meeting was chaired by Secretary (ER) and attended by the Deputy Ministers and Senior Officials of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. The special invitees for the event were the country representative of the UN World Food Program (UNWFP), the Deputy Foreign Minister of Iran and the Consul General of Afghanistan, read the Ministry of External Affairs press release.
During the meeting, the Managing Director, of India Ports Global Limited (IPGL) gave a comprehensive presentation on the facilities and the current operations at the Shahid Behesti Terminal, Chabahar Port.

Country Representative for UNWFP made a presentation on the ongoing cooperation between India and UNWFP in Afghanistan for the delivery of wheat assistance. The Consul General of Afghanistan emphasized the significance of Chabahar Port for the delivery of humanitarian assistance for the Afghan people and providing economic opportunities for the Afghan businessman and traders, added the release.

The participants appreciated the role played by Shahid Behesti Terminal, Chabahar Port in facilitating the shipments of humanitarian assistance for the Afghan people. Since IPGL took over operations in December 2018, India has utilized the port for shipping a total of 2.5 million tons of wheat and two thousand tons of pulses to Afghanistan.

Regional connectivity is essential for enhancing trade and commerce between India and Central Asian countries in the context of their land-locked nature and lack of overland connectivity with India.

The Deputy Foreign Minister of Iran proposed to hold the next round of the India-Central Asia Joint Working Group (JWG) in Iran along with the participation of the private sector. The participants welcomed the proposal, added the release.

The connectivity projects deserve priority attention and could be a force multiplier for trade and economic cooperation and contacts between countries and people.

The participants agreed that connectivity requires the active participation of the private sector. In order to facilitate large-scale private investments in sustainable connectivity, the sides expressed their commitment to implement relevant international standards, to ensure a level playing field for companies and to ensure reciprocal access to markets, read the release.

They reaffirmed that the connectivity initiatives should confirm international norms, rule of law, and respect for international commitments, and is based on mutually agreed principles of sustainable connectivity, transparency, broad participation, local priorities, financial sustainability and respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries.

Upon their request, the Indian side offered capacity-building programs to the officials/relevant stakeholders of participating countries in the field of port management and logistics.

The participants thanked India for holding the first Joint Working Group Meeting on the joint use of Chabahar Port in Mumbai and agreed to hold the next round of meetings at a mutually convenient date. (ANI)



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