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‘India committed to development of Chabahar port’

New Delhi’s Ambassador to Tehran Rudra Gaurav Shresth said India is committed to increasing capacity, efficiency, and development of equipment in the Iranian port…reports Asian Lite News

Before long, a new chapter of cooperation between New Delhi and Tehran will open to deploy advanced equipment in the port of Chabahar and increase the transportation of commodities, Ambassador of India to Iran Rudra Gaurav Shresth said while visiting Port of Shahid Beheshti in the southeastern city of Chabahar.

India Ports Global Limited (IPGL), a state-owned company, has signed a cooperation agreement with Iran to equip and operate the Shahid Beheshti Port in Chabahar recently.

India is committed to increasing capacity, efficiency, and development of equipment in the Iranian port, the ambassador noted.

Officials have developed port terminals, equipment, and facilities of Shahid Beheshti Port, which are effective in exporting and importing goods, he further noted.

In the mid-January, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said that he and his Indian counterpart Subrahmanyam Jaishankar have had discussions over “strategic connections”, including the development of Iran’s Chabahar Port and the significance of the International North-South Transit Corridor (INSTC).

Iran to link Chabahar port to railway network

“Our entire effort is to complete the Chabahar-Zahedan rail section by the end of the year and put it in the service of the country’s transit development,” Mehrdad Bazrpash, Minister of Roads and Urban Development, said after signing a contract with India to develop the port of Chabahar.

India has been developing Chabahar on Iran’s southeastern coast along the Gulf of Oman to facilitate the transfer of goods to Iran, Afghanistan and central Asian countries, as an alternative to the port of Karachi and Gwadar in rival Pakistan.

Additionally, Bazrpash said he proposed a plan to Indian officials to launch a joint shipping company between Iran and India to expand transit routes in the region. “This proposal will be officially presented soon,” he added.

The minister noted that the transit container line between Iran, China and India is running regularly, and its transit volume grew by more than 154% last calendar year.

“With the development of the Chabahar port, we hope to see an even greater increase in this transit volume,” he said.

Speaking about the joint project, Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister for Economic Diplomacy Mehdi Safari also said that the Chabahar deal is “good news for exporters, importers and transit in Iran and other Central Asian countries such as Uzbekistan, Russia and the Caucasus”.

He said that measures have been taken to facilitate transit of goods from Iran to Central Asia and the Caucasus until the Chabahar-Khash railway becomes operational.

“In this regard, 150 trucks are transporting cargo through this route to Central Asia and the Caucasus,” he said.

India takes one more step to develop Chabahar port.

New transit corridor outside of Persian Gulf

This 10-year long-term lease agreement further strengthens the bilateral ties between the two countries while bolstering confidence and boosting trust among trading communities in the region.

The Chabahar Port is an India-Iran flagship project that serves as an important transit port for trade with Afghanistan and Central Asian countries, which are landlocked countries. India has been a key player in the development and operation of Chabahar Port.

The Indian government has invested in the port’s infrastructure and has been involved in upgrading its facilities to make it a viable transit route for Indian goods bound for Afghanistan and Central Asia.

In August 2023, Prime Minister Narendra Modi met with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi in Johannesburg on the sidelines of the BRICS Summit.

Both leaders discussed the pending long-term Contract on Chabahar, and gave a clear political direction to finalise and sign the long-term Term Contract.

‘Pathway for bigger investments’

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar asserted that the possible signing agreement between India and Iran will pave the way for bigger investments and will connect India to Central Asia.

“On the Chabahar agreement, my understanding is my cabinet colleague Sarbananda Sonawalji is today going to Iran and it is expected that we would see the long-term agreement between India and Iran on Chabahar. We’ve been running it on the basis of ad hoc arrangements. This is not because of any problem on the Indian side. The issue was really there was a lot of problems as to exactly who the combination of partners would be in Iran,” he said during a media interaction in Mumbai.

“So we believe that as and when a long-term arrangement is concluded, it will clear the pathway for bigger investments to be made in the port. Right now, the port has not grown because actually we didn’t, you know, if you don’t have a long-term agreement, it’s very difficult to invest in a port. So the very clear expectation is that the Chabahar port, at least that part of the Chabahar port that we are involved in, that will definitely see more investments,” he added.


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