Tuesday, May 28th, 2024

Union Minister Sarbananda Sonowal may sign important Chabahar port deal with Iran

Union Ports, Shipping and Waterways Minister Sarbananda Sonowal boarded a special Indian Air Force flight to Iran on Monday and is expected to sign the crucial Chabahar port agreement between the two countries, reliable sources said.

The agreement will enable India to lease the Chabahar port located on Iran’s coast along the Gulf of Oman on a long-term lease.

This strategic masterstroke will open a new trade route between South Asia and Central Asia through Iran, bypassing Karachi as well as Gwadar ports in Pakistan.

It also opens a new door of economic opportunities for business communities to explore alternative transit routes through the sensitive and busy Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz.

The contract to operate the Chabahar port will mark another major milestone in India’s growing maritime reach in the region following the launch of the Sittwe port in Myanmar, both aimed at neutralizing the growing Chinese presence in the region. Sarbananda Sonowal had inaugurated the Sittwe port in Myanmar exactly a year ago – in May 2023.

Iran’s Chabahar port is seen as a key component of India’s connectivity initiative, it is of utmost importance as it provides a viable and short route for trade between India, Iran, Afghanistan and Central Asia.

India aims to make Chabahar port a transit hub under the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) to reach CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) countries. INSTC is India’s vision to economize the movement of goods between India and Central Asia, and the Chabahar port will act as a commercial transit hub for the region.

INSTC is a multi-modal transport route that connects the Indian Ocean and the Persian Gulf to Northern Europe via the Caspian Sea via Iran and St. Petersburg in Russia.

INSTC envisages movement of goods from Mumbai by sea to Shahid Beheshti Port – Chabahar (Iran), from Chabahar to Bandar-e-Anjali (an Iranian port on the Caspian Sea) by road and then from Bandar-e-Anjali. Has been. By ship across the Caspian Sea to Astrakhan (a Caspian port in the Russian Federation), and then from Astrakhan to other regions of the Russian Federation and further to Europe by Russian Railways.

Earlier this January, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi discussed expediting the implementation of Iran-India agreements, including the Chabahar port development plan, and further compensation for delays.

According to the official website of the Iranian presidency, during their meeting, Jaishankar expressed interest in concluding a comprehensive and long-term cooperation agreement with Iran.

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