India Abroad

First Phase of Chabahar Port Now Open, To Boost India-Iran Trade

| December 3 , 2017 , 18:25 IST

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has started a new partnership with India and Afghanistan by inaugurating the first phase of Chabahar port on Sunday. The strategic transit route will allow India to trade with Iran and Afghanistan, bypassing Pakistan.

The port on the Gulf of Oman has been jointly developed by India and will allow the nation to have the least contact with Pakistan authorities during trade as the country does not allow India to ship goods through its territory.

The under-construction Gwadar port which is some 80km away in neighbouring Pakistan, being built with Chinese investment also possesses a challenge. Reportedly, the inauguration ceremony was attended by the dignitaries from India, Qatar, Afghanistan, Pakistan and other countries.

Five new piers have been included in the extension and two of them allows to contain cargo vessels with up to 100,000-ton captaincy to dock. India's involvement in the framework development for establishing a gateway to Afghanistan was supposedly more than Iran.

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The Indian government has spent a massive amount of $500 million for the construction of Chabahar port along with associated roads and rail lines which will allow the country to trade with landlocked Afghanistan along with the countries of central Asia.

India has currently planned of shipping seven shipments of wheat to Afghanistan through Chabahar by the end of January in order to demonstrate the route's viability. The officials plan to maximise the cargo flow between nation before the port is fully operational.

Without addressing the rivalry with Pakistan, Rouhani said that the port will bring “more engagement and unity” among regional countries during his inauguration speech. He further added, "We should go after positive competition."

Welcoming the neighbouring ports to join hands with the initiative, Rouhani affirmed, "We welcome other ports in the region, we welcome Gwadar’s development." India's external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj met her Iranian counterpart Javed Zarif on Saturday to discuss important matters.