The Union Government is hopeful that strategic Chabahar Port in Iran will be operational by end of 2018. Iran is expected to send application to EXIM Bank of India for providing first tranche of loan from the $150 million credit line to activate the contract between India and Iran for Chabahar Port.
Chabahar port is strategically located in southeastern Sistan-Balochistan province on Gulf of Oman, near energy-rich Iran’s border with Pakistan. It can be easily accessed from India’s western coast, bypassing Pakistan. India and Iran signed “historic” Chabahar port agreement in May 2016 which has the potential of becoming India’s gateway to Afghanistan, Central Asia and Europe. Under it, India will develop and operate for 10 years of two terminals and five berths.
Strategic importance of Chabahar Port
The port provides access to the resources and markets of landlocked Afghanistan and Central Asia bypassing Pakistan. It is located less than 150km west of Pakistani port of Gwadar, being developed by China. Thus, help in countering Chinese presence in Arabian Sea or keeping track of Chinese or Pakistani military activity based out of Gwadar. Chabahar port will be linked International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC), thus serve as India’s outreach in region to Afghanistan and beyond to Russia, Eastern Europe. Thus, it will be a “win-win” situation for India, Iran and Afghanistan as it would serve as growth engine for entire region.