13 Nov 2017/Monday.   

With the first Indian Wheat Shipment arriving in Afghan city of Nimroz via Iran’s Chabahar Port on Saturday, the Afghan Government declared that their country was no longer dependent on Pakistan’s Karachi port.

“With the opening of Chabahar Port, Afghanistan will no longer be dependent on Karachi Port,” Nimroz Governor Mohammad Samiullah said in a ceremony to inaugurate the new trade.

“This port will create thousands of jobs and bring billions of dollars in revenue to Afghanistan, Iran and India.”

He said the residents of Nimroz are determined to ensure the Nimroz-Delaram roads are secure. This route leads directly to Chabahar Port in Iran.

At the same event, Nasir Ahmad Durani, acting minister of agriculture, said the cooperation between Afghanistan, India and Iran in the Chabahar region is a great opportunity to boost trade ties between the three countries.

The Indian ambassador to Kabul, Manpreet Vohra, who was also present in the ceremony said that Chabahar Port provides easy and short connectivity between countries in the region.He said the shipment is part of the 1.1 million wheat pledged by India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Afghanistan – during his visit to Kabul.According to him, 700,000 tons of the wheat has so far arrived in Afghanistan.

Pakistan’s Dilemma

This unexpected development in the region caught Pakistan Government completely napping as it had to rush down its Army Chief to Tehran presumably to plead to Iranian Government to go slow on the Indian Trade to Afghanistan. This trade route, which is called as North South Transit Corridor, when fully developed, is expected to link Chahabar Port to Russia and other Central Republic Nations. In other words, it will drastically reduce the economic gains of CPEC. The diversion of trade through Iran has un-nerved Pakistan, as it will directly affect the repayment of Chinese loan.

In a bid to counter Chahabar the Rattled Pakistan has embarked on a mission to increase the trade traffic through Gwadar. As per a news report in Dawn, the business community of Pakistan has urged the government to shift the handling of Afghan Transit Trade (ATT) from Karachi to Gwadar Port in the garb of easing cargo-related congestion and ever-growing pressure on the city’s road network. It is also being suggested that NATO and other transit cargo destined for the Afghanistan should be directed via Gwadar Port. To make a beginning Pakistan Government has hinted about giving some tax concessions to traders for shifting the trade to Gwadar. It is being hoped that, increase in trade traffic in Gwadar may offset the advantages of Indian initiative and also sooth the critics of CPEC, who call it economic slavery to China.


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