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NEW DELHI: Chabahar port and more air corridors could overcome the problem of direct connectivity between India and the five central Asian countries, foreign minister S Jaishankar said on Thursday.
Launching the India Central Asia business council, Jaishankar said India would host the second India Central Asia Dialogue this year, which would include Afghanistan along with five central Asian countries. Emphasising their importance, Jaishankar said, “As developing countries, we share common perspectives and… we also work together to meet common challenges such as terrorism, extremism, radicalisation, drug trafficking etc. which affect our region.”
As Afghanistan moves to wards a peace process with the Taliban and an uncertain future post the US drawdown, India reckons that its synergies in the security sphere with these states would be that much more.
“Clearly, a great potential exists in enhancing trade and economic engagement between India and central Asia. There is the challenge of lack of efficient overland connectivity. India proposes to overcome this challenge through the Chabahar route.” The Centre’s budget allocated an additional Rs 100 crore to develop the port.
“We had discussed with Mr Javad Zarif (Iranian foreign minister) how to make the Chabahar port commercially more attractive. I think both sides will take some additional measures to make the port more relevant to the current traffic… This is part of our larger commitment to the International North South Transport Corridor and the Ashgabat Agreement. The combination of all these factors could be a partial game changer for our trade with central Asia.”
The minister said “we should also examine the viability of establishing air corridors between India and the central Asian states”. “Availability of air corridors can boost trade in perishable goods, agricultural and food product.”

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