Phase One of Chabahar Port to be Inaugurated

05 December, 2017, 02:29 | Author: Irene Delgado
  • First phase of strategic Chabahar port, party developed by India, inaugurated by Iranian President

The inauguration of the Phase I of Shahid Beheshti Port at Chabahar, done by Iran's President Dr. Hassan Rouhani, was also attended by Indian Minister of State (MoS) Shipping Pon Radhakrishnan and Minister of Commerce and Industries of Afghanistan Humayoon Rasaw.

"If Chinese naval ships are to be based in Gwadar in future, it will pose security challenges to us, which we will have to look at and mitigate", said Navy chief Sunil Lamba in a statement to reporters.

A total of $1 billion is being invested in the first phase of the Chabahar development project, a joint global project billed as an "International Gateway" by Iranian officials who have invested $403 million (up until now) from the National Development Fund of Iran in the project and gained the approval of India to invest $85 million to complete the project.

Ahead of the inauguration, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj met her Iranian counterpart Zarif in Tehran on Saturday, during a surprise stopover on her way back from a Shanghai Cooperation Organisation meeting in Russian Federation, and discussed the port project among other issues.

Rouhani, however, downplayed the Pakistan angle in his inauguration speech and said the port will bring "more engagement and unity" among regional countries.

With this, a new strategic transit route to Afghanistan and Central Asia have opened for India through Iran, bypassing Pakistan.

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The MEA said the meeting also commended the transit of first tranche of 1,10,000 tonnes of wheat from India to Afghanistan through the Chabahar Port. India's commitment for the port is $500 million. Akbar was speaking at the 7th Meeting of Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan (RECCA), which was formed to promote peace in Afghanistan.

As per Iran media reports, Iran's ambassador to Pakistan, Mehdi Honerdoost stated that Pakistan and China had both been invited to contribute to the project before India, but neither China nor Pakistan had expressed interest in joining.

In the first phase of the port of Shahid Beheshti, 15 million cubic meters of dredging, 203 hectares of new land, and 1,650 breakwaters have been constructed, and its basin depth is 16.5 square meters.

Chabahar as the only oceanic port of Iran is located 645 km to the south of Zahedan, the provincial capital city.

In a major step forward, the first phase of Iran's Chabahar port, which holds significant strategic and economic importance for India, was launched on Sunday. Both the port development pact and the connectivity agreement were signed during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Tehran in May previous year.

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