Chabahar port of Iran is now operational as an alternate, reliable and robust connectivity for Afghanistan, with a ceremony on 29 October 2017 when India’s External Affairs Minister Smt. Sushma Swaraj and Foreign Minister of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan H.E. Salahuddin Rabbani, through a joint video conference, flagged off the first shipment of wheat from India to Afghanistan from the Kandla port in Gujarat, that would be transhipped through the Chabahar port. It will open up new opportunities for trade and transit from and to Afghanistan and enhance trade and commerce between India, Afghanistan and Iran and the wider region in the wake of Pakistan denying transit facilities.
External Affairs Minister of India reiterated India’s continued commitment to support reconstruction, capacity building and socio-economic development of Afghanistan, including under the framework of the New Development Partnership that she had jointly announced with Foreign Minister Rabbani during the meeting of India-Afghanistan Strategic Partnership Council in September 2017. She also renewed commitment to work closely with regional and international partners to bring peace, security, stability and prosperity in Afghanistan.
India-Iran cooperation in the field of development of infrastructure and regional connectivity including the development of Chabahar Port is in line with the Tehran Declaration (2001) and the New Delhi Declaration (2003).
Trilateral Agreement on Establishment of International Transport and Transit Corridor was signed during the visit of the Prime Minister of India to Iran in May 2016. A commercial contract for the development and operations of Chabahar Port was signed between Indian Joint Venture India Ports Global Pvt Ltd (a Consortium of Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust and Kandla Port Trust) and Iran’s Arya Banader on 23 May 2016 in Teheran. Government of India and Port and Maritime Organization (PMO) of Iran signed the contract as Confirming Parties.
As per the contract India was to construct two terminals (five berths) at Chabahar Port according to the specifications agreed under the Inter-Governmental MoU signed between India and Iran on the 5th May 2015. The MoU envisages construction of a multipurpose cargo terminal (600 mtrs length) and a container terminal (640 mtrs length).
Near Chabahar Port, China has already constructed Gwadar Port in Balochistan province of Pakistan
Participation in the Chabahar Port development will provide India an alternative and reliable access route into Afghanistan utilizing India’s earlier investment in Zaranj-Delaram road built in Afghanistan, and also a reliable and more direct sea-road access route into Central Asian Region. Chabahar Port’s location at the Arabian Sea means that it would be able to skirt any challenges posed by developments in the Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz.
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