Chabahar Port Current Affairs

India, Iran call for early operationalisation of Chabahar Port

India and Iran have expressed commitment for early completion and operationalisation of Chabahar Port besides strengthening bilateral ties.

Both countries in a series of meetings held during the Union Road Transport, Highways and Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari two-day visit to Iran to attend the inauguration of Hassan Rouhani second tenure as President.

Key Facts

Both countries reviewed and assessed the progress in implementation of the decisions taken during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Iran in 2016, including the progress in the development of Chabahar Port. India also has conveyed its readiness to aid Iran in taking up operations in Chabahar Port during the interim period between the actual activation of contract.

Background

India had requested Iran for an early submission of loan application for Chabahar Port Development to Exim Bank of India so that the contract agreement can be activated.  The Iranian side earlier had requested India to provide up to $150 million credit and had made it a condition for activation of the Chabahar Port contract. The application for loan to Exim Bank of India is still awaited.

Chabahar Port

Chabahar port is strategically located in the southeastern Sistan-Balochistan province, on the Gulf of Oman, near Iran’s border with Pakistan. In May 2016, India and Iran had signed a bilateral agreement, under which India agreed to refurbish one of the berths at Shahid Beheshti port, and reconstruct a 600-metre long container handling facility at the port.

Significance of Chabahar Port

Alternative route to Afghanistan: The Chabahar port, intended to provide an alternative route for trade between India and Afghanistan, by bypassing Pakistan. It will also ensure in the establishment of a politically sustainable connectivity between India and Afghanistan which will lead to better economic ties between them. It will also ease connectivity to Zaranj-Delaram road constructed by India in 2009 which give access to Afghanistan’s Garland Highway. From a diplomatic perspective, Chabahar port can also be used for humanitarian operations in Afghanistan. 

INSTC: It will boost India’s access to Iran, the key gateway to the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) that has sea, rail and road routes between India, Russia, Iran, Europe and Central Asia. It can significantly boost import of iron ore, sugar and rice to India from Afghanistan. It can also help to reduce import cost of oil to India.

Countering Chinese presence: It will be beneficial to India in countering Chinese presence in the Arabian Sea as China with help of Pakistan is developing the Gwadar port which is less than 400 km from Chabahar by road and 100 km by sea.

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India, Iran and Afghanistan sign historic land transit trade agreement

India, Iran and Afghanistan sign historic three-way land transit agreement on Iran’s strategic southern port of Chabahar.

It was signed by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani in Teheran, Iran.

Under the agreement, India will invest up to 500 million dollars in a deal to develop a strategic port in Iran.

Chabahar port is strategically located in the Sistan-Balochistan Province on the energy-rich Persian Gulf nation’s southern coast. It lies outside the Persian Gulf and is easily accessed from India’s western coast, bypassing Pakistan.

Comment

  • The agreement on the establishment of a Trilateral Transport and Transit Corridor has potential to alter the course of history of this region.
  • It can spur unhindered flow of commerce throughout the region and its economic fruits will expand trade, attract investment, build infrastructure, develop industry and create jobs.
  • India will get sea-land access route to Afghanistan bypassing Pakistan which will open opportunities for Indian companies to explore Afghanistan’s mineral wealth.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Iran

It was the first by an Indian PM to Iran in 15 years and comes months after international sanctions on Iran were lifted following its historic nuclear deal with the P5+1 nations over its contentious atomic programme. Earlier, then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had visited Iran in April 2001.

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