Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has inaugurated a newly built extension of the Chabahar Port on the Gulf of Oman, Reuters news agency reported Sunday. The port opened Afghanistan and Central Asia to Indian commerce while isolating Pakistan.
Rouhani inaugurated the expansion, carried out with an investment of $1bn including $235mn from India, which has more than tripled the port's capacity to 8.5 million tonnes a year, state television reported. The ministers agreed to further intensify efforts on issues concerning regional connectivity and to focus on Chabahar Port development under the May 2016 Trilateral Transit and Trade Agreement. An 8bn dollar India-Iran MoU for Indian industrial investment in Chabahar Special Economic Zone.
Iranian Foreign Ministry said Zarif referred to the Shahid Beheshti Port and said it reinforces Iran-India mutual and regional cooperation.
When asked whether Iran is prepared for the United States to return to sanctions, Mohammad Rastad, Iran's Deputy Transport Minister in ports and maritime affairs, said "Nothing's happened as yet, has it?" Interest in the project was rekindled in 2013 after Iran and the US, UK, France, Russia, China and Germany reached an interim agreement on Tehran's nuclear programme and some sanctions were lifted.
Phase One of Chabahar Port to be Inaugurated
"In effect, Pakistan has emerged as the largest wall in history, inhibiting connectivity between India and Afghanistan". The port will allow India to bypass Pakistan on a trade route to Afghanistan. And India's $2bn commitment to Afghanistan for developing supporting infrastructure including the Chabahar-Hajigaj railway line. At present, Afghan trucks with Afghan products come up to Torkham on Afghan-Pakistan border where the goods are loaded onto Pakistan trucks that in turn come up to the India-Pakistan border at Wagah.
The MEA said the meeting also commended the transit of first tranche of 1,10,000 tonnes of wheat from India to Afghanistan through the Chabahar Port.
First of all, the new port will allow India to counter the blockade created by Pakistan.
The project was first conceived in 2003 and has so far cost around $1 billion, with India providing $235 million of the financing as it seeks routes that bypass Pakistan. And with India steadily improving ties with East Asian countries, this may end up becoming a new global trade route that will counter the China-led Belt and Road initiative.
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