India: Chabahar port hand-over on track

 A general view of the port of Kalantari in Chabahar.

A general view of the port of Kalantari in Chabahar.

India on Friday said Iran has stuck to the agreed timeframe in its plans to hand over the operational responsibility of a part of the Chabahar port to an Indian entity in October.

The smooth movement regarding the strategically important port came a day after official sources indicated that the United States would give a ‘carve out’ to India’s investment in the project.

Minister’s assurance

“They have moved as per schedule so far and we hope the handover will happen as agreed,” said an official informed of the matter. The positive observation came a day after Iran’s Transport Minister said here that Tehran would proceed with handing over responsibility of running the port to an Indian company in a month.

“As per agreement, we are now ready to hand over the port (Chabahar) to the Indian company. We have moved a step in the right direction already. We have provided a banking channel to India and India has accepted that formally,” Abbas Akhoundi, the visiting Iranian minister told Indian media. Mr. Akhoundi held discussions with his Indian counterpart Nitin Gadkari on Thursday and met industry delegates.

On Friday, the Iranian minister attended the Global Mobility Summit organised by the NITI Aayog, where he reiterated that Iran will hand over the facilities of the port next month. At the summit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivered a speech in support of greater connectivity in India and in the neighbourhood.

The Iranian commitment to handover the port facilities in October is significant as just in July Tehran had conveyed displeasure to India regarding alleged slow investment from New Delhi into the project.

Despite U.S. displeasure

Mr. Akhoundi was hosted in Delhi even as India held the ‘2 plus 2’ Dialogue with the U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and the Secretary of Defence James Mattis on Thursday.

Following the dialogue with the U.S. delegates, Indian sources had said they were expecting a ‘carve out’ on the Chabahar project as it is strategically important to India. This was an important exception that India hoped to receive even as the United States indicated that it would expect India to reduce dependence on Iranian crude and ‘zero out’ energy ties with Tehran.

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Printable version | May 24, 2022 8:16:46 pm |