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November 28, 2020

Border diplomacy can enhance Pak-Iran trade

National

November 28, 2020

With having an about 1,000-km-long common border, the two neighbouring, friendly and brotherly countries of Iran and Pakistan have countless opportunities and potential for expansion of bilateral relations. Yet, the volume of trade between the two countries is not in conformity with these opportunities and potential. The Islamic Republic of Iran, for making use of this potential, has adopted ‘neighbours first’ as its foreign policy, wherein a special preference has been given to promotion and development of relations with the Islamic Republic of Pakistan in all fields, including trade, culture, people-to-people exchanges, diplomacy and security.

A vigorous promotion of border diplomacy with Pakistan is one of the most important parts of the ‘neighbours first’ policy of Iran. It is in line with this policy that the two countries have always put up joint and commendable efforts for opening of border crossings and security of their common borders. Today, the expanded borders between Iran and Pakistan have become a golden opportunity and potential for their economic blossoming and people-to-people ties.

The inauguration of the Rimdan-Gabd border can be termed as the first step towards implementation of the two countries’ border diplomacy. This border, which is going to bring a huge economic advantage for the two countries, serves as a window to further development of trade and people-to-people exchanges between Iran and Pakistan.

For facilitating these exchanges, Iran has so far allotted a sum of more than four million dollars and a land with area of more than 6,000 hectares for development of infrastructure for the Rimdan border, so that the two countries could accrue a maximum benefit from this border only 130 kilometers away from the Chabahar port of Iran. Iran has provided very good technical equipment for this border, specially for trading in cattle and fruits and vegetables, and is also trying to provide at the earliest possible time all necessary facilities for trade in other goods such as construction materials. One of the main features of this border is the availability of all necessary equipment for export of mangoes from Pakistan to Iran. Thus, from now on, export of Pakistani mangoes which are very popular in Iran, would become much easier. On the whole, Iran is trying to turn this border into one of international standards at the earliest.

These facilities as well as the proximity of this border to the Iranian Port of Chabahar provide for the Pakistani traders a unique opportunity for an easy and profitable access to markets in Iran, Mideast countries, Turkey and the Persian Gulf and European countries. Iranian traders will also benefit from this border in getting access to the huge Pakistani and Chinese markets.

Furthermore, the Rimdan-Gabd border will play a significant role in reducing the land traveling time between the two countries, which on its part may become an important factor for growth of people-to-people exchanges.

As is obvious from such cooperation, Iran and Pakistan firmly believe that development of trading infrastructure at their common borders is in the interest of their security, stability and welfare, as well as that of the region. The visit of the foreign minister of the Islamic Republic of Iran to Islamabad and the official inauguration of the Rimdan-Gabd border at the peak of the corona pandemic is a sign of this common belief.

Treading on this very path, the two countries are willing to open more border crossings, which through enhancement of bilateral trade and exchanges will certainly bring welfare and job for the local border communities, ultimately resulting into reduction of border insecurity.

I look forward to a further development of Iran-Pakistan ties through a vigorous promotion of their border diplomacy, particularly a speedy opening of the Pishin-Mand border.

The writer is the Consul General of Islamic Republic of Iran in Karachi