Updated May 13th, 2024 at 18:23 IST

Shahid Beheshti Port Terminal in Chabahar to Boost India’s Linkages With Afghanistan, Central Asia

The long-term contract was signed between India Ports Global Ltd. and Ports and Maritime organisation of Iran.

Reported by: Digital Desk
The long-term contract was signed between India Ports Global Ltd. and Ports and Maritime organisation of Iran. | Image:'X'/@MEAIndia
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New Delhi: Scripting a “new chapter in bilateral partnership” between India and Iran, the government on Monday signed a long-term contract for the operation of the Shahid Beheshti Port in Chabahar, seeking to boost regional connectivity and the country's linkages with Afghanistan and other neighboring countries in Central Asia.

Union Minister of Ports, Shipping and Waterways Sarbananda Sonowal, who witnessed the signing of the long-term contract between India Ports Global Ltd. and Ports and Maritime organisation of Iran, held a crucial meeting with his Iranian counterpart Mehrdad Bazrpash wherein the duo discussed furthering the shared vision of making Chabahar Port a regional connectivity hub connecting India to Afghanistan, Central Asia, and Eurasia.

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"With the signature of this contract, we have laid the foundations of India’s long-term involvement at Chabahar”, Sonowal said while speaking at the key ceremony.

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India and Iran signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in 2015 to jointly cooperate on the development of the Shahid Beheshti Port at Chabahar in Iran. 

“The signature of this contract will have a multiplier effect on the viability and visibility of Chabahar port”, he added.

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Chabahar is not only the closest Iranian port to India but it is also an excellent port from nautical point of view, the minister further said.

Reiterating India’s commitment to cooperate with Iran in developing the Chabahar Port, Sonowal handed over the letter from External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar to Iran's Foreign Minister H Amirabdollahian offering a credit window equivalent to USD 250 million for Chabahar-related development, a post on the 'X' account of the Embassy of India in Iran, stated.

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Located in Sistan-Balochistan province on the energy-rich Iran's southern coast, the Chabahar port is being developed by India and Iran to boost connectivity and trade ties.

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Both the countries have projected the port as a key hub for the INSTC – a 7,200-km-long multi-mode transport project for moving freight among India, Iran, Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Russia, Central Asia and Europe.

The Ministry of External Affairs had allocated funds to the tune of Rs 100 crore for the Chabahar Port for 2024-25, underlining India's focus on connectivity projects with Iran.  

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The bilateral relations between India and Iran had received a boost during PM Modi's visit to Iran in May 2016, when a joint statement titled “Civilizational Connect, Contemporary Context” was issued, and 12 MOUs/Agreements were signed. 

The Trilateral Agreement on Trade, Transport and Transit between India, Iran and Afghanistan was also signed during PM Mod's visit. 

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In February 2018, Iranian President Rouhani visited India during which a joint statement titled “Towards Prosperity Through Greater Connectivity” was issued. The two sides had signed 13 MOUs/Agreements at the time.

The recent contract assumes significance as India has emerged as one of Iran’s five largest trade partners in the recent years. Major Indian exports to Iran include rice, tea, sugar, pharmaceuticals, manmade staple fibres, electrical machinery, artificial jewellery etc. while major Indian imports from Iran consist of dry fruits, inorganic/organic chemicals, glassware, etc.
 

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(With inputs from PTI)

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Published May 13th, 2024 at 17:48 IST