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Cabinet approves Iran port project

In a move that could offer significant geo-strategic advantage to India by way of smooth access to Afghanistan, the Union Cabinet on Saturday gave its approval to India’s participation in the Chahbahar port project in Iran.

The Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi cleared the long pending inter-governmental framework MoU, to be signed between India and Iran.

An Indian Joint Venture (JV) company will lease two fully constructed berths the port’s first phase for a period of 10 years, with an investment of $ 85.21 million within 12 months.

Located along the Makran coast in the Gulf of Oman, Chahbahar is in close proximity to the Strait of Hormuz which facilitates about 40 per cent of the world’s oil trade, and hence has significant strategic implications for India.

The road or rail link from Chahbahar would provide India the shortest access to Pashtun areas of Afghanistan, from the Nimroz province.

Not only would it allow India to gain easier access to Afghanistan and central Asia without having to depend on Pakistan, it is also being touted as India’s answer to Chinese control over Pakistan’s Gwadar port, just 76 km from Chahbahar.

The port was a dream project of former PM Atal Behari Vajpayee, who had inked a MoU for its joint development with the then Iranian president Mohammad Khatami in 2003.

“Atal Behari Vajpayee ji had initiated this project 13 years ago…this will be our first port outside India…its a great achievement,” Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari has said last month.

“The distance between Chahbahar and Mundra ports is lesser than that between Delhi and Mumbai… it [presents] a golden opportunity for transportation of gas, urea, etc,” he said.


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Printable version | May 27, 2022 10:24:00 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/cabinet-approves-iran-port-project/article6515577.ece