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Published: Mon, December 04, 2017
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

Iranian President inaugurates first-phase of Chabahar port

Iranian President inaugurates first-phase of Chabahar port

"The completion of the internal procedures on the ratification process by Iran is expected to lead to full and early operationalisation of the transit and trade arrangement between the three countries through the Chabahar port", a government statement said.

State TV said President Hassan Rohani attended the inauguration on December 3 along with dignitaries from India, Qatar, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and other countries.

Chabahar provides India with an easy land-sea linkup with Afghanistan.

Ahead of the inauguration, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj met her Iranian counterpart Zarif in Tehran on Saturday, during a surprise stopover on her way back from a Shanghai Cooperation Organisation meeting in Russian Federation, and discussed the port project among other issues.

Over a month ago, India had sent its first consignment of wheat to Afghanistan by sea through the Chabahar port in Iran.

The US, however, has held off criticism of India's involvement in developing Chabahar, hoping greater Indian investment in Afghanistan will help to stabilise the country. India has been closely working with Afghanistan to create alternative, reliable access routes, bypassing Pakistan. The shipment is to be taken by trucks to Afghanistan from Chabahar.

Chabahar also has an global airport and Iran's Navy and Air Force have bases in the city, adding to the ports value.

According to Managing Director of Ports and Maritime Organization Mohammad Rastad, with the opening of the port's Phase 1, close to 800 direct jobs and 20,000 indirect jobs have been generated.

Chabahar as the only oceanic port of Iran is located 645 km to the south of Zahedan, the provincial capital city.

Besides the bilateral pact to develop the Chabahar port, for which India will invest $500 million, a trilateral Agreement on Transport and Transit Corridor has also been signed by India, Afghanistan and Iran.

"Reiterating the importance of Chabahar as a hub for regional economic connectivity and their commitment to work towards this objective, the ministers commended the joint efforts of the three countries in the recent successful transit of wheat from India to Afghanistan through Chabahar". The ministers agreed to further intensify efforts on issues concerning regional connectivity and to focus on Chabahar Port development under the May 2016 Trilateral Transit and Trade Agreement.

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