Sunday January 21, 2018
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India seeks enhanced economic ties with Iran

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New Delhi:  Iran being an important partner of India, according to Sushma Swaraj External Affairs Minister, called for improvement of commerce, infrastructure, trade and bilateral economic cooperation in energy on Monday.

Co-chairing the 18th session of the India-Iran Joint Commission Meeting (JCM) here with Iran’s Minister of Economic Affairs and Finance Ali Tayebnia, Sushma Swaraj underlined the efforts underway to enhance bilateral economic cooperation in energy, infrastructure – including shipping, ports and railways — and trade and commerce, an official statement said.

“She stressed that connectivity afforded by Indian participation in Chahbahar port will facilitate linking Afghanistan and Central Asia with India,” the statement said.

“The Iranian side suggested the participation of India’s public and private sectors in the development of Chahbahar port and Chahbahar Free Trade Zone (FTZ) and in setting up industrial units in the FTZ.”

Sushma Swaraj emphasised the need for early completion of all necessary procedures for India’s participation in the Farzad-B gas field in Iran and pointed out India’s desire to participate in other oil and gas explorations in the west Asian nation as well.

“The two ministers reviewed the progress in trade and economic cooperation and a number of related matters, and discussed the possibilities in cooperation in railways, including by supply of rails, rolling stock, signalling and other works and India’s participation in Chahbahar-Zahedan-Mashhad railway line,” the statement said.

The JCM was preceded by meetings of the Joint Working Group (JWG) on trade and Commerce (November 18-19), Joint Working Group on energy (December 26) and Joint Working Group on infrastructure (December 26).

Earlier on Monday, Taiebnia called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who warmly recalled his meeting with the Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in Ufa earlier on the sidelines of the Brazil, Russia, India China, South Africa (BRICS) and Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summits in Ufa, Russia, this year and reiterated the keen desire of India to expand its economic cooperation with Iran.(IANS)(image: mayatoday.com)

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All You Need To Know About India’s Strategic Chabahar Port

The Chabahar Port is a seaport in Chabahar, which is on the Gulf of Oman, near Iran-Pakistan border.

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Chabahar Port is of great international significance in terms of trade, especially for India. Wikimedia Commons
Chabahar Port is of great international significance in terms of trade, especially for India. Wikimedia Commons

By Ruchika Verma

  • The Chabahar Port is of great strategic importance for India
  • It is in Iran and is being built and operated by India
  • This port will increase India’s trade with Central Asia and Europe

The Chabahar Port is a seaport in Chabahar, which is on the Gulf of Oman, near Iran-Pakistan border. Chabahar is the trans-shipment and logistics hub for the Makran Coast and Baluchistan province of Iran.

Chabahar Port is built and operated by India. Wikimedia Commons
Chabahar Port is built and operated by India. Wikimedia Commons

The tension between India and Pakistan is nothing new. There are several instances where both the countries have tried to obstruct each other’s political or economic agendas. This obstruction, along with other strategic reasons, resulted in the India and Iran’s deal on the Chabahar Port, which is crucial because of several reasons.

Here are few things about it you may not have known before :

  • Under the Trilateral Transit and Transport Agreement of 2016, the Chabahar port is the gateway to the Transport Corridor between India, Iran and Afghanistan, which allows multi-modal goods’ and passengers’ transport.

Also Read: India and Iran sign agreement to develop Chabahar Port

  • The agreement also states that India will develop and operate two berths in the first phase of the port. The contract is for 10 years and extendable. This time period excludes the first two years as they will be used for construction.
Chabahar Port will make India's trade with Afghanistan easier. Wikimedia Commons
Chabahar Port will make India’s trade with Afghanistan easier. Wikimedia Commons
  • The Chabahar Port’s first phase, which was developed by India, and inaugurated by Iran on 4th December 2017, is of great strategic importance as it makes it easier for India to conduct trade with Central Asia and Europe.
  • Iran’s Chabahar port is also important for India’s trade because of Pakistan’s reluctance in allowing India to send goods to Iran and Afghanistan through its land territory.

Also Read: Gwadar Port: China Turning Pakistan Port Into Regional Giant 

  • The development of Chabahar Port will increase the momentum of the International North-South Transport Corridor whose signatories include India, Afghanistan and Russia. Iran is the key gateway in this project. It will improve India’s trade with Central Asia as well as Europe.
    The Chabahar Port has also reduced Afghanistan’s dependence on the transit road, which went through Karachi. Now, trade can be conducted via Chabahar Port too. Islamabad has accused India of trying to use this development as a means to destabilise Pakistan.

    The Chabar Port is the said to be the counter to the Gwadar Port. Wikimedia Commons
    The Chabar Port is the said to be the counter to the Gwadar Port. Wikimedia Commons
  • The Chabahar Port also acts as a counter to the barely 100 km away, Gwadar port in Pakistan, which is developed by China. However, Iran has defended that Chabahar is not a rival to Gwadar and Pakistan is invited to join in its development.
  • In October 2017, India sent its first shipment of wheat to through Chabahar to Afghanistan, in order to test the viability of the route.
  • India will also construct a 900-km Chabahar-Zahedan-hajigak railway line that will connect Port of Chabahar to Hajigak in Afghanistan. It will also connect Mashad in the north, providing access to Turkmenistan as well as northern Afghanistan.This project is worth $1.6 billion.

    India will supply $400 million worth of steel rails to Tehrain. Wikimedia Commons
    India will supply $400 million worth of steel rails to Tehran. Wikimedia Commons
  • It is being said that India will supply $400 million of steel rails to Tehran. There are also possibilities of setting up a fertilizer plant through a joint venture with the Iranian government.