Development of Chabahar Port to be Accelerated: India-Iran Foreign Diplomats Meet

India’s External Affairs Minister, S. Jaishankar, who is on a two-day visit to Iran, met Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and discussed the expedition of development of the Chabahar Port, which is being jointly built by India, Iran and Afghanistan.

Crux of the Matter
  • Following India’s adherence to USA’s sanctions on oil imports, Iran had hinted a hindrance in the timely development of Chabahar Port.
  • A spokesperson from Washington clarified that India has an exemption in adherence for developing Chabahar Port. The U.S. Official said, “The port acts as a lifeline to Afghanistan in terms for India to be able to export humanitarian supplies and potentially helping Afghanistan diversify its export opportunities.”
  • For India, the strategic location of Chabahar Port at Sistan-Baluchistan Province of Iran will serve as a gateway for trade and improved relations with Central Asia.
  • The Port is also seen as an alternative to Pakistan’s Gwadar Port, which is being developed by China, in a worst-case scenario – Pakistan denying entry to India.

India-Iran-Afghanistan partnership – In 2016, India signed a deal with Iran entailing $8 billion investment in Chabahar port and industries in Chabar Special Economic Zone, including an aluminium smelter and a urea making facility. At Chabahar port is being developed a transit route to Afghanistan and Central Asia. India has already built a 240-km road connecting Afghanistan with Iran. Also in planning is a rail route connecting Chabahar with the India-promoted $11-billion Hajigak iron and steel mining project in central Afghanistan, as seven Indian companies in 2011 acquired rights to mine central Afghanistan’s Hajigak region, which contain Asia’s largest deposit of iron ore. The Government of India has pledged to Afghanistan to spend $2bn in developing supporting infrastructure including Chabahar to Hajigaj railway. All this will bring cargo to Bandar Abbas port and Chabahar port, and free Kabul from its dependence on Pakistan to reach the outer world, giving India access to Afghanistan and beyond to Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Russia and Europe via 7,200-km-long multi-modal North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC). More Info