Taliban takeover disrupts India's mega Mumbai-Chabahar plan
The India-sponsored International North-South Transit Corridor project is a multi-model route, connecting Mumbai port with Chabahar in Iran and further to the Caspian Sea.
Taliban-controlled Afghanistan will not be participating in a meeting proposed by India, Iran and Uzbekistan on the Chabahar port, which is scheduled to take place later this year.
The three nations grouping had invited Afghanistan to form a quad to discuss the India-sponsored International North-South Transit Corridor project and the joint use of the Chabahar port.
INSTC is a multi-model route, connecting Mumbai port with Chabahar in Iran and further to the Caspian Sea.
India had in July invited Afghanistan to join the group. But due to the changed political situation in the country, Afghanistan will not be joining the three-nation talks on INSTC and the Chabahar port, a source said.
With Pakistan blocking its transit trade route, the port is the only gateway for India to Afghanistan and Central Asia. INSTC and the Chabahar port offer an alternate option for China's Belt and Road initiative.
In December 2020, India, Uzbekistan and Iran held their first-ever dialogue on the joint use of the Chabahar Port. However, Uzbekistan also agreed to join a US-led quad grouping which also includes Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Experts are of the opinion that this grouping has been created to counter India's Chabahar port project. The new grouping had to meet this month but has been delayed due to the ongoing crisis in Afghanistan.
Three days after the proposal was mooted by Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev during a virtual summit with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on December 11 last year, the trilateral (India-Iran-Uzbekistan) meeting was held.
External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi had said in a weekly press conference that India had proposed to include the port in the framework of the International North-South Transport Corridor.
New Delhi had also welcomed the formation of the India-Uzbekistan-Iran-Afghanistan quadrilateral working group on the joint use of Chabahar port. The meeting is likely to take place in the latter half of this year.