Iran Inaugurates Major Port Extension

Iran Inaugurates Major Port Extension

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has inaugurated a newly built extension of the Chabahar Port on the Gulf of Oman, Reuters news agency reported Sunday.

For India, the investment in Chabahar was important since the port will bolster a trade route for land-locked Central Asian countries that would bypass rival Pakistan.

"Today, five wharfs have been inaugurated in the first phase and building this Port will create many jobs for the people of Iran and the province of Sistan and Baluchestan".

"Through this port, goods will be delivered to neighbouring countries at cheaper prices and in a shorter time", President Hassan Rouhani said at the port, in a speech carried by the state broadcaster.

In October, India sent its first consignment of wheat to Afghanistan through Chabahar, which is about 140km from Pakistan's Gwadar port.

It is speculated the port will still take a year to be fully functional and benefit the trio as per the plan.

■ The Chabahar port will be beneficial to India in countering Chinese presence in the Arabian Sea. But, given the fact that the United States is now India's close ally and Russian Federation too stands to gain from the trade routes, it is fair to assume that both Pakistan and China won't indulge in disruptive activities.




■ The Chabahar port also will boost India's access to Iran, the key gateway to the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) that has sea, rail and road routes between India, Russia, Iran, Europe and Central Asia.

The next four phases of Shahid Beheshti Port will be completed and put into operation, which will eventually reach 82 million tonnes. "We welcome other ports in the region, we welcome Gwadar's development", he said.

The first part of India's construction is scheduled to be finished in 2018.

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.

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 was also made a decision to convene an expert-level meeting of senior officials of the three countries at the earliest", the joint statement said.

Giving a boost to the bilateral ties between India and Iran, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has made an unannounced visit to Tehran, while returning from Sochi in Russian Federation, ahead of the inauguration of the strategically important port.

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