New Delhi (Sputnik): Despite renewed US sanctions on Iran, India is making every effort to make the strategic Chabahar port in South-eastern Iran on the Gulf of Oman operational; this would make the CIS more accessible to India. Nitin Gadkari, India's Minister for Shipping, announced on Friday that the government aims to operationalize the Iranian port, in which it has made heavy investments, by the year 2019.
"India is trying to make Chabahar Port in Iran operational by 2019…The opening up of the Chabahar Port would make the CIS countries more accessible," India's Minister for Shipping Nitin Gadkari said while addressing the Indian Diaspora in Dushanbe on Friday.
"Chabahar Port has the potential to become a regional transit hub for Afghanistan and eastern Central Asian Countries. It is expected that the volume of trade will increase substantially following the commencement of operations at Shahid — Beheshti Chabahar Port,"India's ministry of shipping stated in a press release.
India has chosen an Iranian company, Kaveh Port and Marine Services, to run the Chabahar port for 18 months for an interim period starting June 13.
India and Iran have already been discussing strategies to withstand US sanctions. In the last week of May, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj sat for talks in New Delhi on this issue and discussed various options, including Rupee-Rial trade, so that bilateral trade between the two countries could continue without a blip.
India Ports Global Private Ltd and Iran's Arya Banader had signed a commercial contract for the development and operation of Chabahar Port in May 2016. As per the contract, India is constructing two terminals (five berths) at Chabahar Port with an investment of $85 million for procurement of port equipment. Additionally, India is providing Iran a $150 million loan through the Export-Import Bank of India (EXIM Bank) for the development of Chabahar Port.