00:38 GMT01 June 2020
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    The Chabahar Port in Iran would provide a gateway for trade by India, Iran and Afghanistan with Central Asian countries. The port is also considered India’s answer to China’s involvement in Pakistan’s Gwadar Port.

    Iran is ready to hand over the strategic Chabahar Port to an Indian company within one month for operations according to the terms of the interim agreement signed by the two countries, Iran's minister of roads and urban development, Abbas Akhoundi, announced in New Delhi following a meeting with his counterpart, Nitin Gadkari.

    READ MORE: 'India is Heavily Reliant on Iran for Energy' – Government Source

    "Now we are ready just to hand over the Chabahar Port to the Indian company to operate," Abbas Akhoundi told the media.

    Abbas Akhoundi was hosted by New Delhi for the Mobility Summit by Niti Aaayog — the Indian government's think-tank on policy planning.  

    Abbas also said that Iran's Central Bank has approved the banking channel introduced by India to ease trade and investment.

    "We have already moved one step forward. We should introduce a banking channel to India, and fortunately it has been approved by Iran's Central Bank," Abbas Akhoundi added.  

    Akhoundi stressed strengthening of India — Iran cooperation amid reports of American intervention in India's oil imports from Iran.

    READ MORE: Red Lines: India Won't Axe S-400, Iran Port Project to Appease Trump – Analyst

    "India and Iran's relationship is essential for the region and we are looking at ways to work together. The US is an outsider in the region, so the insiders should come together and continue their friendship," the visiting Iranian minister was quoted by the ANI as saying.

    The Chabahar Port in the Sistan-Balochistan province in the energy-rich nation's southern coast is easily accessible from India's western coast and is increasingly seen as a counter to Pakistan's Gwadar Port, located at a distance of around 80 km from Chabahar.


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    economic benefits, investments, port, trade, sanctions, Chabahar, India, Iran, Central Asia
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