Iran launches commercial port in Oman Sea

Iran launches commercial port in Oman Sea

Iran launches commercial port in Oman Sea

The first-phase of the Chabahar port project is known as the Shahid Beheshti port. The ministers agreed to further intensify efforts on issues concerning regional connectivity and to focus on Chabahar Port development under the May 2016 Trilateral Transit and Trade Agreement.

So far, India has received the go-ahead from the USA with regards to its economic activities in Chabahar.

Shahid Beheshti Port will be regarded as a new development stage for the province, Rouhani said, adding that the capacity of the port is 8.5 million tons.

India can now skip its immediate neighbour in transporting goods to Afghanistan, the need for a license, no more. New Delhi got Afghanistan included in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) in 2007 in a bid to ensure connectivity among all countries in South Asia and in the grouping was established but Pakistan did not play ball. It is easily accessed from India's western coast, thus bypassing Pakistan.

After connecting Chabahar to Zahedan, the railroad will be linked to Zaranj in Afghanistan. At present, Afghan trucks with Afghan products come up to Torkham on Afghan-Pakistan border where the goods are loaded onto Pakistan trucks that in turn come up to the India-Pakistan border at Wagah. And last month, New Delhi shipped its first cargo of wheat to Afghanistan through the Iranian port, part of 130,000 tons that India plans to export to Afghanistan.

While India has been fully devoted to getting its ambitious Chabahar project, Pakistan has left no stone unturned up the game with its investment and alliance with China on Gwadar Port (China Pak Economic Corridor).

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. Modi had said that the land route to Europe via Chabahar could lower the cost and time of the cargo trade to Europe by about 50 per cent compared to the price of sea transport. As the China-sponsored Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) gained momentum in its neighbourhood, it became imperative for India to expand its reach. The Indian government has committed United States dollars 500 million to Chabahar, with an aim to join an increasingly important transport corridor to resource-rich regional countries. China has constructed Pakistan's Gwadar port which is less than 400km from Chabahar by road and 100km by sea.

The statement said, "The completion of the internal procedures on the ratification process by Iran is expected to lead to full and early operationalisation of the Transit and Trade arrangement between the three countries though the Chabahar port..."

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