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Remarks by External Affairs Minister at Flag Off of the first consignment of wheat from India to Afghanistan through Chahbahar Port (October 29, 2017)

October 29, 2017

Excellency Salahuddin Rabbani, Foreign Minister of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan
Excellency Ambassador of Afghanistan to India and the Deputy Chief of Mission of Iran to India

Our officials at the Kandla Port,

I am extremely delighted that today we have joined on a momentous occasion for the people of our three countries and the region.

Last year in May, when our Leaders met in Tehran, they jointly took the decision to establish an International Transport and Transit corridor between India, Afghanistan and Iran. Today, as we jointly flag off the first shipment of wheat from India to Afghanistan through Chabahar Port, we are taking an important step in realising that shared aspiration to carve out the new routes of peace and prosperity.

The wheat that is leaving the Indian shores today, is a gift from the people of India to our Afghan brethren. It is testament to the continued commitment of the Government and the people of India to support our Afghan brethren in building a normal, peaceful, prosperous, secure and bright future for themselves. This is manifestation of our New Development Partnership that we committed to when Foreign Minister Rabbani was in India last month.

At the same time, we are thankful to the Government of the Islamic Republic of 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.

The people of India, Afghanistan and Iran have been connected through centuries; shared commonalities of art and culture, ideas and knowledge; language and traditions. Today, we are rejuvenating these connects and commonalities. I believe that this is the starting point of our journey to realise the full spectrum of connectivity - from culture to commerce; from traditions to technology; from investments to IT; from services to strategy; and from people to politics, that has been visualised by Prime Minister Modi.

In realising this vision, we established air corridor between India and Afghanistan to overfly the obstacles imposed by geography and mind sets. Today, we are bridging them through sea and land under our trilateral cooperation.

Let me reiterate that India remains committed to work closely with our regional and international partners to bring peace, security, stability and prosperity in Afghanistan.

I wish the ship and its crew safe journey. Through your journey, you are realising the hopes and dreams of the people of the three countries and the region for greater trade and people to people contacts.

I once again thank Your Excellency for joining me today to flag off the first shipment of wheat today.



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