Union Shipping Minister Sarbanand Sonowal inaugurated the Chabahar Day conference in Mumbai.
- Dignitaries from Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Afghanistan were present on the occasion.
- In May 2016, India and Iran signed a bilateral agreement in which India would refurbish one of the berths at Shahid Beheshti port, and reconstruct a 600 meter long container handling facility at the port.
- In October 2017, India’s first shipment of wheat to Afghanistan was sent through the Chabahar Port.
About the ‘Chabahar Port’ –
- Chabahar Port is a seaport in Chabahar located in southeastern Iran, on the Gulf of Oman.
- It serves as Iran’s only oceanic port, and consists of two separate ports named Shahid Kalantari and Shahid Beheshti, each of which has five berths.
- The Chabahar port is a key pillar of India’s Indo-Pacific vision to connect Eurasia with Indian Ocean Region. The port will also be part of the International North South Transport Corridor network connecting India.
- The idea of India-Iran cooperation on Chabahar port development was first mooted in 2003 during the visit of then Iranian President Mohammad Khatami to New Delhi. Progress was however delayed because of nuclear related sanctions on Iran.
- An MoU was signed between India and Iran in May 2015. As per the MoU, India is to equip and operate two berths in Chabahar Port Phase-I with capital investment of USD 85.21 million and annual revenue expenditure of USD 22.95 million on a ten year lease.
- Ownership of equipment will be transferred to Iranian side on completion of 10 year period or for an extended period, based on mutual agreement.
- The two berths will be operated by the India Ports Global Private Limited, a Company promoted by the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust and Kandla Port Trust – two major ports working under the Ministry of Shipping.
- Indian ships will get direct access to the Iranian coast; a rail line to the Afghan border town of Zaranj will allow us a route around Pakistan.
- Zaranj-Delaram road constructed by India in 2009 can give access to GARLAND HIGHWAY, setting up access to 4 major cities in Afghanistan – HERAT, KANDAHAR, KABUL and MAZAR-E-SHARIF.