1st phase of Chabahar port opened, to boost India-Iran trade

In news

India, Iran and Afghanistan have signed an agreement to grant preferential treatment and tariff reductions at Chabahar to Indian goods headed toward Central Asia and Afghanistan.

Significance

New Delhi views the Chabahar port project as a strategic response to China’s development of the Gwadar port in Pakistan, and its aggressive pursuit of the Belt and Road Initiative. It is also key to accessing the Central Asian markets for Indian goods.

This port is also significant from the political point of view given that it connects Iran with its eastern and northern neighbours and at a later stage to European states.

Background

The move to develop Shahid Beheshti Port started in 2007 through an investment that officials previously said amounted to $1 billion. However, India’s intention to become a partner in the project was made clear as long ago as in 2003.

Way forward

  • The overall development of the port is planned in four phases and is expected to bring its total annual cargo capacity to 82 million tonnes.
  • The Indian government has committed USD 500 million to Chabahar, with an aim to join an increasingly important transport corridor to resource-rich regional countries.
  • The Centre plans to send seven shipments of wheat to Afghanistan through Chabahar by the end of January, officials said. The wheat will be trucked from Chabahar to western Afghanistan.

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