Ali Akbar Safaei, Director General of Ports and Maritime Organization (PMO), made the remarks in the 2nd trilateral meeting of the Islamic Republic of Iran, India and Uzbekistan, which was held via video-conferencing on Tuesday.
Tashkent has already shown its interest to join India and Iran to promote connectivity through the Chabahar port in the southwest of Iran, as part of the country’s efforts to improve and diversify access to sea routes for trade.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran welcomes the approach of the Government of Uzbekistan to use the capacity of the Chabahar port and its plan to develop trade and investment in the port of Shahid Beheshti [in Chbahar],” Safaei said during the online meeting.
“After Uzbekistan joins the Chabahar Memorandum of Understanding, we will see the facilitation of transit between India, Iran and Uzbekistan in the near future,” he further said.
“Over the past few years, with the implementation of the Chabahar Memorandum, the activities at Shahid Beheshti Port has increased significantly, and we hope that with the full cooperation of India, Iran, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and other Central Asian countries, the activity at Chabahar Port will further increase,” the PMO director-general also said.
The Deputy Minister of Ports, Shipping and Waterways of India, in turn, said that the Chabahar Agreement between Iran, India and Afghanistan gave Afghanistan access to the sea and laid the ground for the development of the Chabahar port in Iran.
The Chabahar port has become a regional transit hub in recent years, providing a more economical and stable route to connect India to Central Asian countries, the Indian official added.
The Indian side further called for creating a mechanism that allows Uzbekistan to connect to Chabahar for the transit of goods, thus giving other Central Asian countries access to the Iranian port.
Uzbekistan’s representative in the virtual meeting pointed out that India, Iran and Uzbekistan have a lot in common in terms of history and culture, adding that trade between the three countries has always been going on for a long time.
He stressed that the volume of trade between Uzbekistan and India has increased significantly over the past year, adding that the Chabahar port can play an important role in facilitating transportation and logistics between countries in the region.
The Uzbek official further announced that an Uzbek delegation would visit the Chabahar port in the near future.