World News

Iranian President inaugurates first-phase of Chabahar port

Iranian President inaugurates first-phase of Chabahar port

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Sunday inaugurated the first phase of Chabahar port, also known as the Shahid Beheshti port.

Despite the top official's words, the port, which is Iran's closest link to the Indian Ocean, poses a challenge to the neighboring Gwadar Port, which is under construction in Pakistan.

With Phase 1 of the Chabahar port having been inaugurated today, India, Iran and Afghanistan announced several steps for full operationalisation of the port.

In May 2016, India, Iran and Afghanistan had inked a pact which entailed establishment of Transit and Transport Corridor among the three countries using Chabahar Port as one of the regional hubs for sea transportation in Iran, besides multi- modal transport of goods and passengers across the three nations. The cargo was sent from Kandla port in Gujarat in October this year.

The Indian government has committed $500 million to Chabahar, with the aim of joining an increasingly important transport corridor to resource-rich regional countries, according to Indian sources. India will also help build a $1.6 billion rail line to Zahedan in Iran, which will eventually connect with Mashad in north and provide access to Turkmenistan as well as northern Afghanistan through the Bafq-Mashad route. However, Iran has assured Pakistan that Chabahar is not being developed to rival Gwadar, which is itself now being developed under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

In fact, the feeling in Afghanistan is that they would no longer need to depend on Pakistan for transit trade.




The first part of India's construction is scheduled to be finished in 2018. The port is expected to be operational by the end of 2018.

Secondly, with India's ever increasing demand for natural gas and crude oil, the port could be a door for the country to import both resources from Iran and Central Asia.

Once the project is complete, Chabahar will be linked with the International North-South Transportation Corridor (INSTC), which now stretches from the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas in the Gulf to Russia, Eurasia and Europe.

According to the Indian statement, at the trilateral meeting, the Indian, Iranian and Afghan Ministers "agreed to further intensify efforts on issues concerning regional connectivity and focusing on Chabahar port development under the Trilateral Transit and Trade Agreement".

The project was officially opened in a ceremony attended by 60 foreign guests from 17 countries at the port located by the Sea of Oman.

Just a day before the historic inauguration, EAM Sushma Swaraj made a surprise stopover at Iran on her way back from Russian Federation and met with her counterpart Javed Zarif.


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