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June 30, 2007

Neighbours out to fail Gwadar Port, reports revealed in 2003

June 30, 2007

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan's embassy in Dushanbe, in a report to the Foreign Office in 2003, claimed that Iran, India and Afghanistan had joined hands to make the Gwadar Port a failure.

The Chabahar port would inflict a huge financial setback to Pakistan, which is pinning high hopes on the Gwadar project as the transit point for goods from Russia and the CARs bound for the Gulf and the East, the report said.

Iran, India and Afghanistan want to make the Iranian port in Chabahar a success story at any cost and have come out to this effect to make Gwadar Port, which is a potential threat to Chahabar port, a failure, say the documents available with The News about the correspondence of Pakistan's embassy in Dushanbe with Islamabad. The Dushanbe embassy unveiled this alarming news in its correspondence made with Islamabad in September 2003.

The documents say that Iran, with the connivance of India, has come out to make Pakistan's plan to allure maximum business form Central Asian Republics through Gwadar Port, unsuccessful, with India playing a vital role in building Iran's Chabahar Port to monopolise trade from Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan, intended for the Gulf and the East.

According to the embassy dispatch, which was later sent to the Ministry of Communication, almost the entire trade activity from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan intended for the Gulf and the East would be routed through Chabahar instead of Gwadar.

They documents said the construction of the third phase of Iran-Afghanistan Transit Highway had also begun near Zabul border post on July 14, 2003, which has now been completed and made operational. The official said that the 15km of highway has been connected with Zabul's Zahak district to the border post and onwards to the Silk Bridge constructed over Parian river. The river serves as the border between Iran and Afghanistan. The third phase of Iran-Afghanistan Transit Highway got completed in March 2004

at the cost of 43 billion Iranian riyals. The highway's earlier phases, joining Chabahar to Zabul and Zahak, were completed earlier.

Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan had inked a trilateral agreement for the Anzob Tunnel project. Tehran provided $10 million grant for Tajikistan to complete the project. The tunnel, which is now operational, is providing safe and uninterrupted road access to Chabahar port from Tajikistan. Iran also extended $21 million credit to Tajikistan for developing its transportation and road sector.

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