India has got control of the operations at the Chabahar port in Iran. On December 24, in Chabahar, a three-level trilateral meeting between Iran-India and Afghanistan was agreed on the implementation of the tripartite transit agreement soon. The three countries agreed to finalize the protocol by coordinating the issues such as transit, road, customs and so on.
What is Chabahar Deal?
The strategy to develop Iran’s Chabahar port on behalf of India was created in 2003, but due to the lack of enthusiasm in Iran and later international restrictions on it, the talk did not move forward. Subsequently, in May 2015, India’s Surface Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari and Iran’s Transport and Urban Development Minister Dr Abbas Ahmad Akhundi signed the development of the Chabahar project. After this, it was finalized during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Iran. Under this deal, Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust and Joint Ventures of Kandla Port Trust are to be developed along with Indian Ports Global Private Limited and Arya Bunder Company of Iran, in the first phase, under 2 Terminals and 5 Multi-Cargo Berth Chabar Port Project.
First meeting of follow-up committee on Chabahar port
In this port city, the officials of Iran, India and Afghanistan gathered for the first meeting of the follow-up committee.Six weeks after getting exemption from US sanctions, India got permission to start operational work at Chabahar port, Iran, which was considered strategically important.
- The meeting was convened to run the Trilateral Chabahar agreements. Facilitate the route of Chabahar in the follow-up committee meeting; There was also an agreement to make a study to reduce the logistic costs and decide on ways to facilitate smooth operation of the Chabahar agreement. Apart from this, an important decision was taken to finalize the routes for trade and transit corridors.
- The protocol will be finalized soon to bring convergence in transit, roads, customs and consular matters. Also, cargo traffic will be allowed in Chabahar under the TIR Convention provisions.
The next meeting of the follow-up committee will be held in India.
- An event will be organized in February 2019 to promote this port.
India Ports Global Limited got rights
- The office of Indian Ports Global Limited, India’s public sector company, started working on the ‘Shahid Bahishti’ port.
- This port has been leased to India Ports Global Limited for 18 months, which will be further extended for 10 years.
- India Ports Global Limited is a joint venture of Deendayal Port Trust for the development of the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust and the development of foreign ports.
- During the visit of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to India in February this year, the Lease Agreement of the first phase of Shaheed Exhibition port of Chabahar was signed.
Why is Chabahar important for India?
- India believes that development of ports, roads and rail connectivity will create new employment opportunities in these three countries and prosperity in these countries.
- Business will be restructured with economic growth and development. With the introduction of this agreement, there will be a chance for private sectors to trade in the face of substantial reduction in trade costs between the three countries.
- By the operation of Chabahar, India will be able to bypass Pakistan. India will be able to increase the supply of goods by ships in Afghanistan.
- In view of the importance of Chabahar in the form of Regional Economic Contact Center, India sent the first ship with 1.10 lakh tonnes of wheat through this harbor to Afghanistan.
- One important aspect of Chabahar Port is that it is only 100 kilometers away from Gwadar Port run by China in Pakistan.
- China is developing this port under its $ 46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor Program and wants to open new business and transportation routes through it.
- Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani inaugurated the newly constructed expansion area at Chabahar port in strategic importance in December last year. This extension will increase the capacity of the port three times.
Bypassing Pakistan will
The Chabahar located in the province of Sistan-Baluchistan in the south-eastern part of Iran is strategically important for India. Through this, India has found a new way of doing business from Iran, Afghanistan, including Central Asia, Russia and Europe. The new strategic transit route is also being started between India-Iran-Afghanistan through this port located in the Arabian Sea, which will strengthen trade between the three countries.
Apart from this, the Chabahar port will be an accessible space for India to reach Afghanistan. So far the easiest way is to pass through Pakistan, but Pakistan has been objecting to it and has been making every effort to disrupt India’s reach to Afghanistan. But through this harbor it is now easier for India to reach Afghanistan. India will now be able to connect with Afghanistan without going to Pakistan. This will provide a direct route to India connecting with Western Asia and there will be no interference with Pakistan.
The US says it has given this exemption for the development of the Chabahar port because it was necessary for the development of Afghanistan and to provide humanitarian relief there. On the insistence of India, the US has freed this port from sanctions imposed on Iran.
Source: The Hindu, The Wire