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Editorial: Day of Chabahar

There is no denying that Afghanistan is a gateway to Central Asia. Thus, the country is a bridge between the energy-starving South Asian countries energy-rich Central Asian republics. However, the foreign invasions and civil war never let the country to tap its potential and become a developed state. After fall of the Taliban’s regime, the hands of the government are still tied because challenges are many and resources are meager. Afghan government cannot pay salaries of the public servants from the exchequer. The economic policy formulated by the former government has worked well; though, it was not implemented in letter and spirit. Major investment and regional projects remained halted or on the cards.

Pursuing these policies the current government is taking steps to see the important projects completed. It is imperative to stand on our own feet instead of relying on foreign assistance because donations are not a solution but a problem itself. Foreign aid cripples the nation. As Afghanistan is enjoying strategically important position in the region, the government can attract foreign investment and boost exports. To capture South Asian markets, Kabul is working with New Delhi jointly to take full advantage of the Iran’s Chabahar port. Due to trade barriers in Pakistan, India is unable to export goods to Afghanistan via Wagah. Indian trucks are not allowed to carry cargo up to Torkham dry port or Lahore. Afghan commercial vehicles face the same problem when it comes to cargo carrying to India via Wagah border.

Therefore, the tripartite agreement on Chabahar would usher in a new era of economic development. Due to its important, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani in a joint conference with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani called Monday the day of Chabahar. As Modi pointed out, Afghanistan will have access to a short and friendly way to trade with the rest of the world. Indeed, the three countries had created history for the whole region because it would also connect the Central Asian republics with the outer world via Afghanistan and Iran. Credit for the whole efforts goes to India because it proposed and invested heavily to upgrade the port and access markets in Afghanistan and Central Asia. The port will help Afghanistan equally to improve its economic lifeline and strengthen its economy. The twenty-first century is the century of trade and technology. Chabahar as an alternative and secure route would help the Afghan government to focus on these areas and steer the country in the direction of economic growth and introducing modern technology in the country to compete with the modern world. The port will create jobs for youth of all the three countries.

From economic perspective, the port will important role in strengthening the Afghan economy because trade activities between Afghanistan, India, Iran and other countries will increase. Moreover, Afghan-India trade volume would jump to $3 billion within next few years from $600 million. Trade volume between Iran and Afghanistan would also increase which currently stands at $5 billion because of more facilities to Afghan traders.

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