Iran is set to handover the strategic Chabahar port to an Indian company within a month for operation as per an interim pact. This was declared by the Iranian Minister of Roads and Urban Development Abbas Akhoundi on 6th Septembe, 2018.
Akhoundi who is on a visit to India on India’s invitation to participate in the Mobility Summit by Niti Aayog said that Iran is ready just to hand over the port of Chabahar to the Indian company to operate according to an interim agreement between India and Iran.
The Chabahar port strategically located in the Sistan-Balochistan province in the southern coast of Iran. The port is easily accessible from India’s western coast and has been developed to checkmate Pakistan’s Gwadar Port located at distance of around 80 kms from Chabahar.
India has also introduced a banking channel, which has been approved by Iran’s Central Bank.
The first phase of the Chabahar port was inaugurated in December 2017 by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, opening a new strategic route connecting Iran, India and Afghanistan bypassing Pakistan.
The Chabahar port will give access to India to trade with central Asian countries. Afghanistan and Iran are also set to benefit from the port as Pakistan has denied transit access to New Delhi.
Under the agreement, India is to equip and operate two berths in Chabahar Port Phase-I with a capital investment of USD 85.21 million and annual revenue expenditure of USD 22.95 million on a 10-year lease.
“As per agreement, we are now ready to hand over the port (Chabahar) to the Indian company. We have moved a step in the right direction already. We have provided a banking channel to India and India has accepted that formally,” Abbas Akhoundi, the Iranian minister told Indian media. Mr. Akhoundi held discussions with his Indian counterpart Nitin Gadkari on Thursday and also met various industry delegates.
Due to the looming US sanctions on Iran, trade between India and the petrol-rich country are bound to suffer but India has been working actively with the US to minimize the damage.
Iran is India’s third biggest supplier of crude oil. US sanctions block payment gateways from November 3 onward.
Apart from Chabahar, Indian firms are also keen on developing the giant Farzad-B gas field in the country.