India Secures Iranian Port Pact Of Chabahar, Eyes Central Asian Markets, Bypassing Pakistan | India News

New Delhi: India on Monday inked a ten year long contract to initiate operations at the strategic Iranian port of Chabahar. The port on the Gulf of Oman was being developed by India, however the US sanctions on Iran had slowed down the process, the plan to do so was first proposed in 2003. The Chabahar port aims to provide a new route to reach the landlocked Afghanistan and Central Asia, bypassing Pakistan.  

India’s Ports, Shipping and Waterways Minister Sarbananda Sonowal visited Iran on Monday to attend the signing ceremony in the presence of Iranian Transport and Urban Development Minister Mehrdad Bazrpash in Tehran. 

Speaking at the occasion, Sonowal said, “With the signature of this contract, we have laid the foundations of India’s long-term involvement at Chabahar,” reported PTI. He added that the signing of this contract will have a multiplier effect on the viability and visibility of Chabahar port. 

This is one-of-a-kind agreement as India has taken over the management of an overseas port for the first-time, a move expected to significantly boost trade between India, Iran, and Afghanistan. It’s part of ongoing efforts to access the vast potential of Central Asia directly, avoiding the need to go through Pakistan.  

Last year, India used the port to deliver 20,000 tonnes of wheat assistance to Afghanistan. In 2021, the port facilitated the shipment of eco-friendly pesticides to Iran. 

The deal supersedes an original agreement from 2016, which pertained to India’s activities at the Shahid Beheshti terminal in Chabahar port and had been extended annually. 

The Indian Embassy in Iran in a post on X said: “@sarbanandsonwal handed over the letter from EAM @DrSJaishankar to Iran’s FM @Amirabdolahian offering a INR credit window equivalent of USD 250 million for Chabahar-related development. Reiterated India’s commitment to cooperate with Iran in developing the Chabahar Port.”

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