Chahbahar port to benefit Afghanistan more says US GENERAL



The co-operation between India and Iran on the strategic Chabahar port in southern Iran will be beneficial to Afghanistan in terms of economic development, a top US general has said as he praised New Delhi’s initiatives in the war-torn country. 

“The governments of India, Iran and Afghanistan signed an agreement over the Chabahar Port in southern Iran. Actually, this initiative would be very beneficial to Afghanistan, in terms of economic development,” General John Nicholson, Commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee during a Congressional hearing on Afghanistan.

 “Theres also, ongoing conversations about water treaties between Afghanistan and Iran. Iran needs Afghanistans water,” he said in his testimony before the powerful Senate committee. “There are mutual interests that Iran and Afghanistan share — water rights, commerce. We welcome the recent economic treaty between Iran, Afghanistan and India on the Chabahar port.

 We think this offers Afghanistan economic alternative to going through pack,” Nicholson said. India has increased its aid to Afghanistan, he said. “India has dedicated another USD 1 billion on top of the USD 2 billion that they have already given to Afghan development needs and we appreciate their support,” he said. At the Brussels Conference in October last year, 75 countries and organisations confirmed their intention to provide USD 15.2 billion to Afghanistans development needs and this plays a very positive role, going into the future, he said. 

“These expressions of international commitment reflect the importance which the world places on stability in Afghanistan,” Nicholson said. A “milestone” pact on the strategic Chabahar port in southern Iran, which will give India access to Afghanistan and Europe bypassing Pakistan, was inked by India and Iran in May 2016 after detailed discussions between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. 

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