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Indian woman NGO worker kidnapped in Afghanistan

Judith's family on Friday expressed hope that India and Afghanistan would act soon to have her released.

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Afghanistan (Representational Image). Image source:
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  • The aid agency also confirmed to IANS that a “staff member of the Aga Khan Foundation” was abducted, but it did not name her
  • Judith’s family on Friday expressed hope that India and Afghanistan would act soon to have her released
  • The latest in a series of terror strikes on Indian interests in Afghanistan was on an Indian consulate on March 2

The Indian embassy in Kabul is in touch with senior Afghan authorities and the government, the sources said, adding that officials in Delhi were also in contact with her family in Kolkata.

They said all efforts are being made by the Afghan authorities to secure her release.

Judith DSouza, kidnapped in Afghanistan. Image Source: timesofindia.indiatimes.com
Judith DSouza, kidnapped in Afghanistan. Image Source: timesofindia.indiatimes.com

The aid agency also confirmed to IANS that a “staff member of the Aga Khan Foundation” was abducted, but it did not name her.

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“An investigation by the authorities has been launched, in conjunction with security officials and various partners. Every effort is being made to secure the safe release of the staff member,” Aga Khan spokesperson Sam Pickens said in an email response.

Meanwhile, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said that she has spoken to D’Souza’s sister.

“I have spoken to the sister of Judith D’Souza. We will spare no efforts to rescue her,” she tweeted.

“She is your sister and India’s daughter. We are doing everything to rescue her. Please take care of your sick father,” Sushma Swaraj added.

Agnes D'Souza the sister of Indian aid worker Judith D'Souza. Image Source: www.arabnews.com
Agnes D’Souza the sister of Indian aid worker Judith D’Souza. Image Source: www.arabnews.com

Judith’s family on Friday expressed hope that India and Afghanistan would act soon to have her released.

“It happened in a different country. The government of that country should take steps. She liked the place as she said there was a lot of work to be done,” Judith’s sister Agnes D’Souza told the media in Kolkata.

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“But if such a thing happens, who would want to go back? I am asking every channel to do their part. The government of India must do something and get my sister back. I want her back,” she added.

Asked about Taliban involvement in the crime, Agnes said: “I don’t know.”

Judith’s family came to know about the development around 1.30 a.m. on Friday from the Indian embassy in Kabul.

This is not the first time that an Indian aid worker has been kidnapped in Afghanistan. Taliban militants have mostly been blamed for the kidnappings.

Many Indian establishments have also been targeted in the past in Afghanistan where New Delhi has pledged and made huge investments to rebuild the war-torn country.

Family of Judith D'Souza. Image Source: Indian Express
Family of Judith D’Souza. Image Source: Indian Express

The latest in a series of terror strikes on Indian interests in Afghanistan was on an Indian consulate on March 2.

The abduction comes as the Indian embassy issued a security alert earlier last month for Indians residing in Afghanistan and travelling to the country.

“All Indians residing and travelling to Afghanistan are advised that the security situation in the country remains highly volatile. Terrorist attacks have taken place in the country against foreigners and are expected to continue. There is also the risk of kidnapping and hostage taking throughout the Afghanistan,” the embassy statement warned. (IANS)

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All You Need To Know About India’s Strategic Chabahar Port

The Chabahar Port is a seaport in Chabahar, which is on the Gulf of Oman, near Iran-Pakistan border.

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Chabahar Port is of great international significance in terms of trade, especially for India. Wikimedia Commons
Chabahar Port is of great international significance in terms of trade, especially for India. Wikimedia Commons

By Ruchika Verma

  • The Chabahar Port is of great strategic importance for India
  • It is in Iran and is being built and operated by India
  • This port will increase India’s trade with Central Asia and Europe

The Chabahar Port is a seaport in Chabahar, which is on the Gulf of Oman, near Iran-Pakistan border. Chabahar is the trans-shipment and logistics hub for the Makran Coast and Baluchistan province of Iran.

Chabahar Port is built and operated by India. Wikimedia Commons
Chabahar Port is built and operated by India. Wikimedia Commons

The tension between India and Pakistan is nothing new. There are several instances where both the countries have tried to obstruct each other’s political or economic agendas. This obstruction, along with other strategic reasons, resulted in the India and Iran’s deal on the Chabahar Port, which is crucial because of several reasons.

Here are few things about it you may not have known before :

  • Under the Trilateral Transit and Transport Agreement of 2016, the Chabahar port is the gateway to the Transport Corridor between India, Iran and Afghanistan, which allows multi-modal goods’ and passengers’ transport.

Also Read: India and Iran sign agreement to develop Chabahar Port

  • The agreement also states that India will develop and operate two berths in the first phase of the port. The contract is for 10 years and extendable. This time period excludes the first two years as they will be used for construction.
Chabahar Port will make India's trade with Afghanistan easier. Wikimedia Commons
Chabahar Port will make India’s trade with Afghanistan easier. Wikimedia Commons
  • The Chabahar Port’s first phase, which was developed by India, and inaugurated by Iran on 4th December 2017, is of great strategic importance as it makes it easier for India to conduct trade with Central Asia and Europe.
  • Iran’s Chabahar port is also important for India’s trade because of Pakistan’s reluctance in allowing India to send goods to Iran and Afghanistan through its land territory.

Also Read: Gwadar Port: China Turning Pakistan Port Into Regional Giant 

  • The development of Chabahar Port will increase the momentum of the International North-South Transport Corridor whose signatories include India, Afghanistan and Russia. Iran is the key gateway in this project. It will improve India’s trade with Central Asia as well as Europe.
    The Chabahar Port has also reduced Afghanistan’s dependence on the transit road, which went through Karachi. Now, trade can be conducted via Chabahar Port too. Islamabad has accused India of trying to use this development as a means to destabilise Pakistan.

    The Chabar Port is the said to be the counter to the Gwadar Port. Wikimedia Commons
    The Chabar Port is the said to be the counter to the Gwadar Port. Wikimedia Commons
  • The Chabahar Port also acts as a counter to the barely 100 km away, Gwadar port in Pakistan, which is developed by China. However, Iran has defended that Chabahar is not a rival to Gwadar and Pakistan is invited to join in its development.
  • In October 2017, India sent its first shipment of wheat to through Chabahar to Afghanistan, in order to test the viability of the route.
  • India will also construct a 900-km Chabahar-Zahedan-hajigak railway line that will connect Port of Chabahar to Hajigak in Afghanistan. It will also connect Mashad in the north, providing access to Turkmenistan as well as northern Afghanistan.This project is worth $1.6 billion.

    India will supply $400 million worth of steel rails to Tehrain. Wikimedia Commons
    India will supply $400 million worth of steel rails to Tehran. Wikimedia Commons
  • It is being said that India will supply $400 million of steel rails to Tehran. There are also possibilities of setting up a fertilizer plant through a joint venture with the Iranian government.