NEW DELHI: India is all set to start operations on a part of the Chabahar Port in the next two months on borrowed Iranian equipment.
India will provide cargo handling equipment including cranes and operate two terminals in Chabahar Port Phase-I with capital investment of 85.21 million US Dollars. The Indian company which will operate the terminal will incur an annual revenue expenditure of 22.95 million US Dollars on a 10-year lease as per the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the two countries three years ago.
A short-term lease contract has been signed to borrow equipment from Iran to start interim operations on a part of the port where the work is complete. Under the arrangement Iran will provide the equipment till Indian completes the process of procuring equipments in the international market, which is expected to take a couple of months.
We will have a foothold in Chabahar Port by May. This will give a boost to our plans to connect India with Afghanistan and Central Asia, an official of the Shipping Ministry said.
India is building at Chabahar Port, a Container Terminal and a Multi-Purpose Cargo Terminal with a total waterfront length of 1,240 metres. India wants to put into operation at least 360 meters by May-end. “Project Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) will be in place by March-end. We are in the middle of the process to select the SPV,” said an official of India Ports Global Private Limited (IPGPL) which will be operating the terminal.
IPGPL is a joint venture between Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust and Deendayal Port Trust to develop Chabahar. The port, located in the Sistan-Baluchistan Province of Iran on the South-Eastern coast, is of great strategic importance to India. It will provide the Country an alternative and reliable route into Afghanistan, bypassing Pakistan, and give it access to resource-rich Central Asia.
India, Iran and Afghanistan have already signed a transit agreement for easy passage of Indian goods to their territory. India will be building a dedicated railway corridor from eastern Iran to Afghanistan. Two months ago India sent a wheat consignment to Afghanistan through the Chabahar Port, the first Indian consignment to reach Kabul through sea bypassing Pakistan. Islamabad has put lot of road blocks in the movement of Indian goods by land route to Kabul through Pakistan.