New Delhi: India will have independent control of Chahbahar port in Iran from next month following an agreement between the Iranian Roads and Urban Development Minister Abbas Ahmad Akhoundi and his Indian counterpart on Thursday.
“The pact that the ministry has signed with the Iranian government will give us freedom to operate the port independently,” an official from Ministry of Road Transport and Highways Ministry.
The officials comments was followed by a message by Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways, on Twitter.
"Met Mr. Abbas Akhoundi, Hon'ble Minister of Roads and Urban Development, Iran. We discussed about progress of Chabahar port development & issues related to bilateral cooperation", Gadkari wrote on Twitter.
The Chabahar port is easily accessible from India's western coast and is increasingly seen as a counter to Pakistan's Gwadar Port located at distance of around 80 kms from Chabahar.
According to other reports, an Iranian delegation is operating behind the scenes in in Delhi to work out a payment mechanism for the strategically important Chabahar port. Discussions are underway to rope in UCO Bank and Bank Pasargad for a payment mechanism that will help circumvent US-driven sanctions against Iran.
"Indian side had investment in Chabahar port and we are moving towards utilisation of the Chabahar port," Mr Akhoundi said, adding that the handing over of the port should be done "during one month. We have done everything".
The first phase of the Chabahar port was inaugurated in December 2017 by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, opening a new strategic route connecting Iran, India and Afghanistan bypassing Pakistan.
The Chabahar port is being considered as a gateway to golden opportunities for trade by India, Iran and Afghanistan with central Asian countries, besides ramping up trade among the three countries in the wake of Pakistan denying transit access to New Delhi.
"The routes of the region should be connected on land, sea and air," Hassan Rouhani had said at the inauguration ceremony.
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