IN a significant move likely to bolster business and trade relations between the two neighbouring countries, Pakistan and Iran on Saturday opened a new border crossing point. The Rimdan-Gabd border gateway was officially opened in the presence of officials from both sides, which is all set to lessen burden on Mirjavah-Taftan crossing point.
The new crossing point is suitably located for import and export of goods between the two countries. During Iranian Foreign Minister Jawad Zarif’s visit to Islamabad in November both sides had reached an understanding to open this crossing point to facilitate trade. Both the countries share 959-km border and have in recent years held interactions at various levels to enhance their bilateral relations in diverse fields. Geographical proximity and close brotherly ties rooted in historical, cultural and religious commonalities offer huge potential to take bilateral relationship to new heights for the benefit of peoples of two countries. Though trade between the two countries is growing gradually, it is less than the actual potential. Business communities of the two countries should be encouraged so that they can play their due role to strengthen trade and economic ties. And indeed opening new crossing points on the border is a step in the right direction to achieve that purpose.
Abundant opportunities are available in Iranian dairy, livestock, meat and beverages sectors for Pakistani traders and investors. Similarly, Pakistan can also benefit from Iran’s energy and petrochemical sector. The new crossing point will also facilitate hundreds of thousands of Pakistani Zaireen who visit Iran every year. At present pilgrims had to travel to Taftan from Quetta and on their return from Iran to Quetta amid heavy security. We will rather ask both the countries to deliberate on opening of more border crossing points and then move towards establishment of border markets to provide a real impetus to economic relations. Simultaneously, the two countries must make joint efforts to curb border smuggling cutting down illicit and undocumented trade, movement of undesirable elements that create mistrust in bilateral relations. With India out of Chabahar Port project and China stepping in, prospects are high of Tehran joining the CPEC project. This will be a win-win situation for the three countries. Both Gwadar Deep Sea Port and Chabahar will supplement each other to make the region hub of trade.