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First Indian wheat consignment via Chabahar reaches Afghanistan

In a significant sign of trilateral cooperation, the first consignment of wheat from India to Afghanistan, that was flagged off by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and her Afghan counterpart Salahuddin Rabbani on October 29, reached the Afghan city of Zaranj near the Iran-Afghanistan border on Saturday via the Iranian port of Chabahar, thereby bypassing Pakistan.

“1st India wheat shipment via #Chabahar welcomed into Zaranj #Afghanistan with traditional song, dance and joy! Proud moment!!,” Indian Ambassador to Afghanistan Manpreet Vohra tweeted.

Vohra said that pictures of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani decorated Zaranj as the shipment arrived.

The shipment to Afghanistan comes in the wake of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s one-day visit to India on October 24. India is a major development aid partner for strife-torn Afghanistan.

While flagging off the shipment on October 29, Sushma Swaraj also thanked Iran “for providing assistance in facilitating the movement of this gift through Chabahar Port”.

“This shows the convergence between the ancient civilisations of India, Afghanistan and Iran to spur unhindered flow of commerce and trade throughout the region,” she said.

The shipment is part of a commitment made by India to supply 1.1 million tonnes of wheat for the people of Afghanistan on a grant basis.

This is the first shipment to go to Afghanistan through Chabahar after the trilateral agreement to develop the port as a transport and transit corridor between India, Iran and Afghanistan was signed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Iranian and Afghan Presidents Hassan Rouhani and Ashraf Ghani, respectively, in May last year.