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India approves plan to develop Iran’s Chahbahar port

Flags of Iran and India.
Flags of Iran and India.

Indian government has approved plan to develop Iran’s Chahbahar port, key to India’s efforts to find new sea routes to Afghanistan.

New Delhi, Oct 10/Nationalturk – In a significant development, Indian government has approved plan to develop Iran’s Chahbahar port, key to India‘s efforts to find new sea routes to Afghanistan, bypassing country’s arch rival and nuclear foe Pakistan.

“India will float a company to develop Iran’s Chahbahar port,” an Indian spokesman said.

The port of Chahbahar in southeast Iran is central to India’s efforts to circumvent Pakistan and open up a route to landlocked Afghanistan, where it has developed close security ties and economic interests.

The planned Indian company will invest $85.21 million in one year to convert the berths into a container terminal and a multi-purpose cargo terminal.

‘Indian JV company will invested US $ 85.21 million for 2 berths’

“An Indian Joint Venture (JV) company will lease two fully constructed berths in Chahbahar port’s Phase-I project for a period of ten years, which could be renewed by “mutual agreement”. The JV company will invest US $ 85.21 million for equipping the two berths within 12 months as a container terminal and the second as a multi-purpose cargo terminal,” the spokesman said.

He said Indian side will transfer ownership of the equipment to be provided through the investment to Iran’s port and Maritime Organisation (P&MO) without any payment at the end of the tenth year.

“The Indian side can form a JV that could include one or more Iranian companies subject to the approval of the P&MO.  The Indian and Iranian sides could enter into subsequent negotiations for participation in the construction, equipping and operating of terminals in Phase-II on BOT basis, subject to the Indian side’s satisfactory performance in Phase-I,” he said

The spokesman said Iranian side will make efforts to provide Free Trade Zone conditions and facilities at the port.

Chahbahar port will give sea-land access to Afghanistan

India’s presence at the Chahbahar port would give it a sea-land access route into Afghanistan through Iran’s eastern borders.

Iran`s Chahbahar port located in the Sistan-Baluchistan Province on Iran`s south-eastern coast is a port of great strategic utility for India. It lies outside the Persian Gulf and is easily accessed from India`s western coast.

From Chahbahar port using the existing Iranian road network, one can link up to Zaranj in Afghanistan which is at a distance of 883 km from the port and then using the Zaranj-Delaram road constructed by India in 2009, one can access Afghanistan`s garland highway thereby establishing road access to four of the major cities of Afghanistan — Herat, Kandahar, Kabul and Mazar-e-Sharif.

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