Chabhahar Port: What is India’s stake in Iran’s deep water harbor? Explained

India has signed a deal with Iran on Chabahar Port which will provide an alternate trade route and will form the crucial link in the International North-South transport Corridor.

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Indian on Monday has signed a 10-year contract for the operations of a terminal at the strategically essential Chabahar Port in Iran. Chabahar is the Iranian port which is closet to India and it is the only deep water port which is located in open sea and provides easy and secure access to the large cargo ships. 

The long term deal was done in the presence of Sarbananda Sonowal, the Union Minister for Shipping, Ports and Waterways by signing a contract between India Ports Global Ltd (IPGL) and Ports & Maritime Organization of Iran (PMO) in Tehran.

According to the official tweet, the deal will enhance global trade by providing alternate trade route to India for Iran, Afghanistan, Eurasia and Central Asian Republics. This port will also provide the significant humanitarian aid, open new vistas in fostering peace and stability in the region.

The Chabahar Port is located on Iran’s South-Western coast and has easy access to India’s West coast. It will form the crucial link in the International North-South transport Corridor.

During the term of the agreement, IPGL will spend about USD 120 million to outfit and run the port; beyond that, the two parties will continue to collaborate in Chabahar. Additionally, India has extended an offer of a credit window worth USD 250 million in rupees for projects that both parties have jointly determined will enhance port infrastructure.

All about Chabahar Port

Chabahar Port is located in Southeastern Iran, on the Gulf of Oman. It consists of two ports, named after Shahid Kalantari and Shahid Beheshti. The port is only 170 kilometers west of Pakistani Port of Gwadar.

The proposal for the development of the port was passed in 1973 by the last Shah of Iran, though the development of the post was delayed by 1979 because of the Iranian Revolution. However, the first phase of the port was opened in 1983, during the Iran-Iraq war. 

Although India and Iran both agreed to develop it further Shaid Beheshti port in 2003, but got delayed due to sanctions against Iran.

What is India stakes in Iran's Chabahar port?

Trade and Connectivity: Chabahar port provides India with a strategic gateway to Afghanistan, Central Asia, and beyond, bypassing Pakistan. It offers India an alternative route to access these regions, reducing dependence on Pakistan's goodwill for trade with Afghanistan and Central Asia.

Regional Influence: By investing in and developing Chabahar port, India aims to enhance its influence in the region. It sees Chabahar as a counterbalance to China's growing presence in the Indian Ocean and its development of the Gwadar port in Pakistan, which is part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

Energy Security: Chabahar port also holds potential for India's energy security. It could serve as a gateway for India to access Iran's vast oil and gas reserves more easily, diversifying its energy sources and reducing reliance on shipments through the Strait of Hormuz, which could be vulnerable to geopolitical tensions.

Development Assistance: India's involvement in the development of Chabahar port aligns with its broader goals of fostering economic development and stability in Afghanistan and the wider Central Asian region. By facilitating trade and connectivity, India aims to contribute to the economic growth and stability of these countries.

Overall, India's stakes in Chabahar port are multifaceted, spanning economic, strategic, and geopolitical interests, and it views the port as a crucial component of its regional engagement and connectivity initiatives.

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