Iran Opens Extension Of Key Port

Posted December 04, 2017

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has inaugurated a newly built extension of the Chabahar Port on the Gulf of Oman, Reuters news agency reported Sunday.

According to Iranian state media, the inauguration of the port was attended by delegates from 27 countries.

The nation anticipates that it will become a key transit route to land-locked Afghanistan and Central Asia and enable more Indian commodities to be exported to Russian Federation. But New Delhi has proceeded cautiously at a time when the USA administration has taken an aggressive new approach toward Tehran. It is also considered by India as a gateway for trade with the landlocked Central Asian Republics, besides Afghanistan.

Chabahar is Iran's only oceanic port town and consists of two separate ports named Shahid Kalantari and Shahid Beheshti.

The three sides also commended the recent joint efforts that led to the transit of first tranche of 110,000 tons of wheat from India to Afghanistan through Chabahar Port.

The ministers agreed to further intensify efforts on issues concerning regional connectivity and focussing on the Chabahar Port development under the trilateral transit and trade agreement at the trilateral meeting.

India, Iran and Afghanistan reiterated their commitment to the early operationalisation of the port that will contribute to bilateral and regional trade and economic development, apart from providing land-locked Afghanistan an alternative access to regional and global markets.

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It was inaugurated in the presence of dignitaries from India, Afghanistan, Qatar and Pakistan.

According to the Indian foreign ministry, minister of state for shipping Pon Radhakrishnan represented India at the inauguration of the first phase of the Chabahar port project, known as the Shahid Beheshti port.

The expansion, with $235 investment from India, has boosted the port's capacity from 2.5 million to 8.5 million tons a year.

Giving a boost to bilateral ties between India and Iran, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj made an unannounced visit to Tehran, while returning from Sochi in Russian Federation, ahead of the inauguration of the strategically important port.

Being Iran's closest sea link to the Indian Ocean, the Chabahar port is expected to be a rival of Pakistan's Gwadar Port which the neighboring country has been building with investments from China.

The port will increase the capacity of loading and unloading of the ships as well as the employment rate in the province, also an official with the Sistan and Baluchestan Ports and Maritime Organization said on the sidelines of the ceremony.