Iran President opens Chabahar port

Iran President opens Chabahar port

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Sunday presided over the opening of a $1bn extension to Iran's southeastern Chabahar port, which Tehran hopes will become a key transit route to land-locked Afghanistan and Central Asia.

India and Iran signed an agreement in May 2016 during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Tehran under which India is to equip and operate two berths in the first phase of the Chabahar port with capital investment of $85.21 million and annual revenue expenditure of $22.95 million on a 10-year lease.

Minister of state (shipping) Pon Radhakrishnan represented India at the inauguration of phase one of what is known as the Shahid Beheshti port at Chabahar.

In late October, India shipped its first consignment of wheat to Afghanistan from the western Indian port of Kandla. The Indian government has committed Dollars 500 million to Chabahar, with an aim to join an increasingly important transport corridor to resource-rich regional countries.

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Iran has invested about one billion dollars in building the first phase of the port. The capacity of the port is 8.5 million tonnes.

Chabahar provides India with an easier land-sea route to Afghanistan.

"Reiterating the importance of Chabahar as a hub for regional economic connectivity and their commitment to work towards this objective, the Ministers commended the joint efforts of the three countries in the recent successful transit of wheat from India to Afghanistan through Chabahar", it said. We should go after positive competition.

The statement said, "The completion of the internal procedures on the ratification process by Iran is expected to lead to full and early operationalisation of the Transit and Trade arrangement between the three countries though the Chabahar port..."

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Shahid Beheshti Port will be regarded as a new development stage for the province, the President said.

Rouhani added that the port is also politically important "because it will connect us to the eastern and northern countries, and even to European countries in the future, and this is politically important to us".

Swaraj met her Iranian counterpart Javed Zarif held a meeting on Saturday in Tehran and discussed about the Chabahar port project among other issues.

A railway route is also under construction from Chabahar to Zahedan (centre city of Sistan-Baluchestan Province) to boost the capacity of the new strategic transit route.

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