Iran inaugurates port key to intl. trade corridor
The deal between India and Iran to develop Chabahar Port is seen as a plan to counter China's development of Gwadar port in Pakistan, barely 100 km from Iran's Chabahar.
A strategic Iranian port that India is developing has been inaugurated today. India has committed to the $500 million to the Chabahar port that it is building to bypass Pakistan and open a new trade route to Afghanistan and central Asia. On Saturday, Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj made a stopover at Tehran on her way back from Russia and met her Iranian counterpart to discuss the port project. The deal between India and Iran is seen as a plan to counter China's development of Gwadar port in Pakistan, barely 100 km from Iran's Chabahar.
Here is your 10-point cheat-sheet to the Chabahar Port In Iran:
- The Chabahar port, located in the southeastern province of Sistan-Balochistan in Iran, lies outside the Persian Gulf and can be easily accessed from India's western coast, bypassing Pakistan.
- Sushma Swaraj and Iran foreign minister Javed Zarif met in Tehran on Saturday ahead of the inauguration. "It also shows the importance of the port in the development of the region and the routes that connect Central Asian states to other countries in the world through the Sea of Oman and the Indian Ocean," Mr Zarif said.
- The deal between India and Iran is seen as a plan to counter China's development of Gwadar port in Pakistan, barely 100 km from Iran's Chabahar.
- Iranian President Hassan Rouhani inaugurated the first phase of the port. Representatives from India, Afghanistan and a few other countries in the region attended the event.
- In October, India had sent its first shipment of wheat to Afghanistan by sea through the Chabahar port, marking opening of the new strategic transit route.
- The port will help strengthen trade between India, Afghanistan and Iran in the wake of Islamabad denying transit access to New Delhi for trade with the two countries.
- Islamabad says India is trying to use Afghanistan as a base to destabilise Pakistan, and has long blocked India from conducting bilateral trade with Afghanistan using its territory as transit.
- Weeks before today's inauguration, a top Afghan leader said his country would no longer need to depend on Pakistan for transit trade with the opening of the Chabahar port. "Afghanistan used to rely only on one transit road, which was through Karachi. That is not the case anymore. (Now) it's (also) through Chabahar," Afghan Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah said.
- The agreement between India and Iran was signed in May last year. India will develop and operate two berths in the first phase of the port
- India made the commitment to develop the port after sanctions on Iran were lifted following a deal struck between major powers and Tehran to curb its nuclear programme in 2015. Donald Trump has accused Iran of being a threat to countries across the Middle East.