Dec 2, 2017, 2:56 PM
News Code: 82749936
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Indian minister: Chabahar Port to increase Iran-India role in region

New Delhi, Dec 2, IRNA – India’s Minister of State for Finance and Shipping R.Ponniah Ayyapan Radhakrishnan has said that the inauguration of Chabahar Port in southern Iran will enhance the role played by both Iran and India in the region.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) in New Delhi, Radhakrishnan outlined the nature of Iran-India cooperation on the important project of Chabahar which is situated on the Makran Coast of the Sistan-Baluchestan province of Iran and is officially designated as a Free Trade and Industrial Zone.

“The agreement to develop Chabahar project was signed during the trip of the Indian Prime Minister Narenda Modi to Iran. Based on this agreement, India will invest 85 million dollars for the equipment and development of Chabahar Port,' said the Indian minister.

Based on the agreement, he said, India also provided 150-million-dollar credit line for the future development of the port.

“In the first phase of Chabahar Port, we are constructing a multipurpose cargo berth with the length of 600 meters and depth of 14 meters. Another project which India has undertaken is a container terminal with the length of 650 meters and depth of 16 meters,' Radhkrishnan said.

Radhakrishnan who is to attend the opening ceremony of the first Phase of Chabahar port on December 3 (Sunday), noted, “Strategically, Chabahar is very important both for Iran and India. Development of this port will add to the connectivity of the two countries and will also help the link with Afghanistan which is very important.'

The Indian minister maintained that Afghanistan and other central Asian countries will benefit from the Chabahar Port.

He went on to stress the long-standing and strong ties between the Iranian and Indian in all possible areas saying, “The people of Iran and India are both interested in having good relationships. The governments of the two countries also work towards better relations. The government of India is giving much importance to a better relation with Iran and we are focused to advance our bilateral relations with Iran in the field of energy and infrastructure.'

The Indian Minister of Finance and Shipping further pointed to New Delhi’s willingness to have a very good relation with Tehran in future.

He reiterated, “Narenda Modi as the prime minister of India signed the Chabahar agreement in order to expand India-Iran relations and External Minister of India Sushma Swaraj will also meet his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif on Saturday to discuss bilateral relations.'

As for the two countries plans to promote existing relations, he added, “We are also looking forward to the next meeting of Iran-India joint commission in the first half of 2018 in Tehran. We also remain hopeful of the visit of his Excellency Hassan Rouhani, the President of Iran, to India at the earliest. Thus all these meetings and cooperation will lead to a good relation between India and Iran.'

Expressing optimism about the bright future of mutual relations, Radhakrishnan hoped that business relations between the two countries will increase with the completion of the Chabahar project. .

'My meetings with the Iranian and Afghan officials will help expand the trilateral relations. I also hope that Iran and India will continue to work together for the development of the region,” he added.

Presiddent Rouhani is scheduled to inaugurate the first phase of Chabahar Port on Sunday, in the presence of officials from 27 countries including India.

According to the Governor of Chabahar Ayyub Darwishi, after the inauguration of the project, the annual discharge capacity of the port will reach 1.8 million tons.
Chabahar is located in an important strategic and geographic location and has a massive investment, commercial, economic, transit, tourism and industrial capacity.

Once operational, the port will be able to carry out all kinds of operations defined for a major port in its container terminal areas.

In addition to its annual eight-million-ton loading and unloading capacity, the figure will grow to 13 million tons after completion of Chabahar hinterland.

The port of Chabahar has great potential and advantages to be developed into a transit route, and this oceanic port is considered as a bridge connecting countries of Central and Eastern Asia.

Attracting domestic and foreign investment in Sistan-Baluchestan Province, where the port is situated, is a high priority for the Iranian government. It makes possible the transit of 100 thousand tons of Indian cargo through Iran into Afghanistan is in this direction.

The Chabahar agreement indicated the opening of a new chapter in Iran-India relations. The agreement, which was signed during the Indian Prime Minister's visit to Iran between Delhi, Kabul and Tehran last year, has been of great importance since it seeks to activate the north-south corridor and boost transportation between the three countries.

The inauguration of the port will significantly pave the way for India to begin the second phase of the construction and development of two harbors for its own use, especially for trade with Afghanistan.

According to Indian officials, the country's first phase of construction operation in Chabahar will be completed in 2018.