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India, Iran sign long-term contract to boost regional connectivity
Courtesy: X/@India_in_Iran

India, Iran sign long-term contract to boost regional connectivity

In a significant milestone for the India-Iran relationship and to foster close cooperation to make Chabahar Port a regional trade transit and connectivity hub, the two countries on Monday signed a long-term contract for operating the Shahid-Beheshti Port Terminal in presence of Indian and Iranian Ministers.

The Indian delegation to Iran was led by Union Minister of Ports, Shipping and Waterways Sarbananda Sonowal, while Mehrdad Bazrpash, Minister for Roads and Urban Development, was present from the Iranian side.

During his visit to Tehran, Sonowal witnessed the signing of a new 10-year Contract between India Ports Global Ltd (IPGL) and the Ports & Maritime Organisation of Iran (PMO).

Under the Contract, IPGL will commit to further equipping and operating the port for the duration of the Contract. At the end of the 10-year period, both sides would further extend their cooperation in Chabahar.

IPGL will invest approximately 120 million USD in equipping the port. India has also offered an IN credit window equivalent to USD 250 million, for mutually identified projects aimed at improving Chabahar-related infrastructure.

The Chabahar Port is an India-Iran flagship project that serves as an important transit port for trade with Afghanistan and Central Asian countries, which are landlocked countries. India has been a key player in the development and operation of Chabahar Port.

The Indian government has invested in the port's infrastructure and has been involved in upgrading its facilities to make it a viable transit route for Indian goods bound for Afghanistan and Central Asia.

In August 2023, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi met with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi in Johannesburg on the sidelines of the BRICS Summit.

Both leaders discussed the pending long-term Contract on Chabahar, and gave a clear political direction to finalise and sign the long-term Term Contract.

Speaking at the meeting, Sarbananda Sonowal called this a 'historic milestone' and stressed that it "symbolises the enduring trust and deepening partnership between India and Iran."

"Today, India and Iran have reached a historic milestone in their longstanding relationship, driven by the visionary ideals of "Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam" championed by India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Under PM Modi's leadership, the momentous agreement that began on 23rd May 2016 is culminating today in a long-term contract, symbolizing the enduring trust and deepening partnership between India and Iran", Sonowal said during his meeting with the Iranian minister Mehrdad Bazrpash.

"The Chabahar Port is an India-Iran flagship project. Today, as we witness the signing of the long-term contract for operating the Shahid-Beheshti Port Terminal, I am confident that a firm, sustainable, and long-term roadmap for developing the port has been established", he added.

In August 2022, Sarbananda Sonowal visited Chabahar Port in Iran to review its work progress and handed over six mobile harbour cranes to Indian Ports Global Chabahar Free Trade Zone (IPGCFTZ) at the port then.

During his meeting, the Indian minister further underscored India's vision of making the port an international hub of connectivity and how it has continued its outreach with regional countries to expand trade and transit through Chabahar Port.

"We have continued our outreach to promote the Chabahar Port and also facilitate transit. In 2022, India organized the "Chabahar Day" in Mumbai with a focus on fostering closer cooperation between our countries and the wider region to enhance inter-regional trade and economic connectivity," he said.

Sonowal went on to say how this port is serving an important transit port with Afghanistan and Central Asian countries and how India has helped landlocked Afghanistan.

"Chabahar Port is serving as an important transit port for trade with Afghanistan and Central Asian countries, which are landlocked countries. Afghanistan is passing through a difficult phase. Over the past few years, we have supplied 85,000 metric tons of wheat and 200 metric tons of pulses as humanitarian food assistance. We also sent 40,000 litres of pesticide Malathion to Afghanistan through Chabahar port", said Sonowal.

Terming the recent visit of a high-level delegation from Afghanistan to Chabahar port as 'positive', the Indian minister underlined the need to facilitate trade for Afghanistan and help Afghan people to stand on their own feet.

In 2022, India organised "Chabahar Day" in Mumbai with a focus on fostering closer cooperation between our countries and the wider region to enhance inter-regional trade and economic connectivity.

(ANI)

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