Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Iran President Hassan Rouhani also released a joint postage stamp depicting Deendayal Port, Kandla and Shahid Beheshti Terminal, Chabahar
NEW DELHI: India and Iran has signed a significant pact which gives New Delhi operational control of a part of the strategically located Chabahar Port on the Gulf of Oman for 18 months.
The agreement was signed after Prime Minister Narendra Modi held wide-ranging talks with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, focussing on ramping up regional connectivity and intensifying bilateral trade and investment.
On the Chabahar project, a joint statement issued after the Modi-Rouhani talks said both sides reiterated their commitment for early and full operationalisation of Shahid Beheshti Port.
The first phase of the Chabahar Port was inaugurated in December last, opening a new strategic route connecting Iran, India and Afghanistan, bypassing Pakistan.
"The Iranian side welcomed the investment of Indian side in setting up plants in sectors such as fertilizers, petrochemicals and metallurgy in Chabahar free trade zone on terms mutually beneficial to the concerned parties," the statement said.
With a view to fully utilise the potential of the Chabahar Port and its connectivity to Afghanistan and Central Asia, India conveyed its readiness to support the development of Chabahar-Zahedan rail line, it said. Indian Railway Construction International Ltd (IRCON) and Iran's Construction and Development of Transportation Infrastructure Company (CDTIC), which are engaged in discussions, were tasked to finalise the technical parameters and financing options for the project in a time-bound manner.
The Chabahar Port is being considered by India, Iran and Afghanistan as a gateway to major opportunities for trade with Central Asian countries.
Under the agreement signed between India and Iran in May 2016, India is to equip and operate two berths in Chabahar Port Phase-I with capital investment of $85.21 million and annual revenue expenditure of $22.95 million on a 10-year lease.
In May 2016, India, Iran and Afghanistan had inked a pact which entailed establishment of Transit and Transport Corridor among the three countries using Chabahar Port as one of the regional hubs for sea transportation in Iran, besides Multi-Modal transport of goods and passengers across the three nations. The statement said both sides reiterated their commitment to International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) and stressed on the need for inclusion of Chabahar within its framework.
PM Modi and President Rouhani also released a joint postage stamp depicting Deendayal Port, Kandla and Shahid Beheshti Terminal, Chabahar, that reflected the enhanced prosperity through greater connectivity.