Iran proposes to hand over first phase of Chabahar port management to India

Tehran/New Delhi :It is evident that India will have increased participation in the development of Iran’s Chabahar port, considered to be the alternative to Gwader port of Pakistan which has been handed over to China by Pakistan. Iran has extended proposal that India should completely look after the management of the first phase of the development of Chabahar port, which has proved to be strategically important for India. During the high level talks going on in this matter, Irani officials seem to have extended this proposal.

Last year, India had signed a tripartite agreement with Iran and Afghanistan for the expansion of ‘Chabahar’ port. India had also taken lead for an early completion of Chabahar port. According to the information given by ’Ports and Maritime Organisation’, the first phase of development of Chabahar port is nearing its completion. Similarly, the Iranian agencies have also stated that this phase, involving an investment of 85 crore dollars, will be operational after the Presidential elections to be held in May.

Against this background, India has been offered the management of the first phase of Chabahar for minimum two years. Following this, Iran has also expressed readiness for the renewal of this agreement for further 10 years. A tripartite meeting involving Iran, India and Afghanistan will be held next month and the proposal shall be finalised in the meeting, claim sources. In the meantime, India’s Foreign Secretary S.Jaishankar is going to visit Iran for consultations regarding attracting investments for the ’Special Economic Zone’ of Chabahar port. India has expressed readiness to invest $235 million for the development of second phase of Chabahar port. A ‘Special Purpose Vehicle’ has also been created by the Indian Government for this purpose. The development of ‘Chabahar port will enable India to establish a direct connection with Afghanistan and Central Asia.via sea route.

The project of Chabahar port has proved to be a very important phase for India after Pakistan handed over the Gwadar port project to China, However, it is claimed by the analysts from China and Pakistan that India will probably use Chabahar to checkmate China.

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