Iranian President inaugurates first-phase of Chabahar port
05 December, 2017, 02:29 | Author: Kim Reid
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani inaugurated a newly built extension of the Chabahar Port on Sunday December 3 2017, according to Yahoo.
As per reports from the MEA (Ministry Of External Affairs), at present ministers from all the three countries i.e. India, Afghanistan, and Iran have agreed to further intensify cooperation on better connectivity, and development of Chabahar Port and a meeting of senior officials for the discussions is expected soon.
When asked whether Iran is prepared for the U.S. to return to sanctions, Mohammad Rastad, Iran's Deputy Transport Minister in ports and maritime affairs, said "Nothing's happened as yet, has it?"
The extension of Chabahar port, Iran's closest sea link to the Indian Ocean, more than tripled its capacity to 8.5 million tons of cargo annually, compared with the previous 2.5 million tons.
Ahead of the inauguration of the port, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj yesterday met her Iranian counterpart Javed Zarif in Tehran during which implementation of the Chabahar port project was discussed among other issues.
The port will bring "more engagement and unity" among regional countries, he said.
New Delhi has committed up to $500 million for the development of the Chabahar port along with roads and railway lines in order to get access to the Afghan and Central Asian markets while bypassing rival Pakistan.
Over a month ago, India had sent its first consignment of wheat to Afghanistan by sea through the Chabahar port, marking opening of the new strategic transit route.
Located in Iran's Sistan and Baluchistan province on the Gulf of Oman region, Chabahar is the only oceanic port of the country. India is also planning to build rail links across the region that will not only connect the port with India promoted Hajigak iron and steel mining project in central Afghanistan, but also serve as a link to the port with central Asia, Russia and Europe. The Indian government has committed United States dollars 500 million to Chabahar, with an aim to join an increasingly important transport corridor to resource-rich regional countries.
In fact, the feeling in Afghanistan is that they would no longer need to depend on Pakistan for transit trade.
Swaraj said India remains committed to working closely with its regional and worldwide partners to restore peace, security, stability and prosperity to Afghanistan. The shipment is to be taken by trucks to Afghanistan from Chabahar.
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.
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.
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