President Ashraf Ghani on Sunday said the first ever shipment of Afghan goods to India via the Chabahar Port in Iran turned the reopening of the ancient Silk Road into a reality.

The first shipment of goods to India through the Chabahar Port left Sunday at a ceremony attended by the President as well.

The First Trade Convoy involving 23 trucks carrying 570 tonnes of goods left for India from the border city of Zaranj, the capital of Nimroz Province.

Speaking at the gathering, the president said the transfer of first shipment of Afghanistan’s goods manifested the past concept of Silk Road, which turned into a reality today.

‘The world should know that Afghanistan is no longer the country known for corruption, violence and incompetence and the country has gained first position in the World Bank’s ranking in terms of reforms in the private sector, he said.

‘Unfortunately bad governance in the past had been one of the hurdles to trade, therefore more cooperation was needed and the government and the private sector should hold a shared view to change the society.

The President said Afghanistan was changing from an imports-based economy to an exports based economy. The country’s exports exceeded the volume of one billion dollars and the Ministry of Trade and Commerce had set the target of achieving exports worth $2 billion.

Referring to foreign trade, the president said no country reached self-reliance through aid and stressed the need for joint work and cooperation to achieve self-economic reliance.

He said one of the main demands of the people of Nimroz was to change the province from the third grade province to a second grade and necessary directions in this regard had been issued to the authorities concerned.

‘Afghanistan’s revenue saw a 90 percent increase in the past four years and 18 billion afghanis were saved in the procurement of contracts and for the first time 92 percent development budget of the country was spent, he said.

The president added the presidential polls would be held on schedule as it was a constitutional responsibility and demand of the people of Afghanistan.

Khan Jan Alokozai, Deputy Head of the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI), said in the past Afghan traders would offer millions of dollars at ports of other countries, but now Afghanistan was no longer a landlocked country and its goods could be exported to other places.

He said in recent years more work had been done with regard to fighting corruption, bringing reforms and amending laws to support the private sector.

Iranian Ambassador to Afghanistan Reza Bahrami said the transfer of first shipment of Afghanistan’s goods via Iran to India was celebrated today thanks to the strong determination of the leaders of the three countries.

‘The message of our celebration is regional connectivity, rejection of violence, coordination, stability and advancing industry in the region.

He termed relations between Iran and Afghanistan as cordial and stressed the need for mutually respected state to state ties and cooperation.

Indian Ambassador to Afghanistan Vinay Kumar reiterated his country’s support to Afghanistan’s development and pledged India would do everything for Afghanistan’s development.

‘We are interested to support Afghanistan in different areas so that we would be able to bring peace and prosperity to this country, he said.