By Sudha Ramachandran*
With India taking over operations at Iran's Shahid Behesti port in Chabahar, New Delhi has reached an important milestone in realizing its economic and strategic ambitions in Central Asia.
Almost 400 companies from 15 countries have officially applied so far to conduct business in Chabahar Free Trade Zone (FTZ), an official of the Chabahar Free Trade Zone Organization announced on Tuesday, adding that the Iran's oceanic hub will have a tremendous impact on the entire region.
Some 120,000 tons of commodities were transited to Afghanistan from the southeastern Iranian port of Chabahar during the 14 months ending December 21, according to deputy head of Ports and Maritime Organization of Iran.
Iran, India, and Afghanistan held their first joint committee meeting on Monday to follow up the agreements reached by the three states to finalize protocols for transit, roads, customs and consular issues for Iran's southeastern port of Chabahar.
Given its strategic geographical location, Chabahar port in southeast Iran serves as a link to three global markets as well as international corridors and helps accelerate the economic development of neighboring as well as regional states.
The Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the United Nations expressed pleasure in placing Chabahar port on the list of the US sanctions' exemptions against the Iranian people, and said the port was essential for Afghanistan's economic development.
Nearly 40 percent of the major railway project connecting southeastern port city of Chabahar to Zahedan, the provincial capital of Sistan-Baluchestan, has been completed, said an official at the Islamic Republic of Iran Railways.
Head of the Medical Emergency Center of Iranshahr Faculty of Medical Sciences and Health-Medicare Services Mohammad Naseh said on Thursday that the number of injured people in the terrorist attacks stood at 40 while two people were killed.