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Iran inaugurates Chabahar port extension

04 Декабря 2017

Iran officially opened a $1 billion extension of its Chabahar port in the Gulf of Oman on Sunday.

India has committed $500mn to the Chabahar port, which it hopes will allow the port to bypass rival Pakistan's, despite its key ally, the United States, taking a tougher approach to Iran.

According to an Indian External Affairs Ministry statement issued in New Delhi, Radhakrishnan represented India in the second meeting of the India-Iran-Afghanistan ministerial-level trilateral meeting on Chabahar port development on Sunday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani signed a pact in May this year to develop the Chabahar port and other related infrastructure.

27 delegates from India, Afghanistan and other Asian countries attended the inaugural ceremony of the port.

"Today, five wharfs have been inaugurated in the first phase and building this Port will create many jobs for the people of Iran and the province of Sistan and Baluchestan".

Over a month ago, India sent the first consignment of wheat to Afghanistan through Chabahar Port, which Swaraj remarked as a gift from Indians to Afghans.

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However, downplaying the rivalry during the inauguration, Rouhani said, "This port is also significant from the political point of view given that it connects Iran with its eastern and northern neighbors and at a later stage to European states".

From 2.5 million tonnes, the annual cargo tonnage of Shahid Beheshti Port, Iran's only oceanic port, is now expected to nearly triple and reach 8.5 million tonnes.

The Shahid Beheshti extension was inaugurated in the presence of dignitaries from India, Afghanistan, Qatar and Pakistan.

Chabahar provides India with an easier land-sea route to Afghanistan. "We should go after competition", he said.

The statement said, "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 though the Chabahar port..."

A railway route is also under construction from Chabahar to Zahedan (centre city of Sistan-Baluchestan Province) to boost the capacity of the new strategic transit route.

Giving a boost to bilateral ties between India and Iran, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj made an unannounced visit to Tehran, while returning from Sochi in Russian Federation, ahead of the inauguration of the strategically important port.

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Iran inaugurates Chabahar port extension