India to get operational control of Iran’s Chabahar port

Published February 18, 2018
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (L) shake hands with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi before a meeting at Hyderabad house in New Delhi on February 17.— AFP
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (L) shake hands with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi before a meeting at Hyderabad house in New Delhi on February 17.— AFP

NEW DELHI: India and Iran on Saturday signed agreements, including Tehran leasing to New Delhi operational control of part of the Iranian east coast port of Chabahar for 18 months.

The $85 million project, just 90km from Gwadar port, creates a transit route between India, Iran and Afghanistan, bypassing Pakistan.

India is trying to develop Chabahar as a way to gain access to the markets of Central Asia countries as well as Afghanistan.

New Delhi, Tehran sign agreements; Modi, Rouhani discuss peace in Afghanistan

But progress is slow because of concern that President Donald Trump’s administration in Washington may eventually scrap the Iran nuclear deal.

A leasing agreement giving operational control to India of Shahid Beheshti port — phase one of the Chabahar port — was signed in the presence of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

Later, addressing a joint press conference with the Iranian president, Mr Modi said both countries wanted to expand bilateral ties and cooperation in economic development.

“We will support the construction of the Chabahar-Zahedan rail link so that Chabahar gateway’s potential could be fully utilised,” he said. “We want to expand connectivity, cooperation in the energy sector and the centuries-old bilateral relationship.”

Other agreements included a double taxation avoidance treaty, extradition, and cooperation in the farm sector.

Mr Rouhani, who arrived in the southern city of Hyderabad on Thurs­day, will later address industrialists.

Peace in Afghanistan

The Indian prime minister and the Iranian president agreed to step up efforts to bring stability to war-ravaged Afghanistan.

Mr Modi reiterated India’s commitment to help Afghanistan become “a peaceful, secure, permanent, prosperous and pluralistic country” after holding talks with Mr Rouhani in New Delhi on the last day of his three-day visit.

“Looking at our common interests, we are committed to stopping the expansion of such forces that promote international organised crime in terrorism, extremism, illegal drug trafficking, cyber crime and various forms,” Mr Modi said.

“We want to see our region and the world free from terrorism,” he added.

There was no mention of financial assistance or providing weapons to help Afghanistan fight militants by either leader. They did not name Pakistan.

India has been a key supporter of Kabul’s government and has poured more than $2 billion into the country since the Taliban were toppled in 2001.

India has been a key purchaser of Iranian oil and gas, and maintained trade ties even as international sanctions were imposed on Tehran over its nuclear programme between 2012 and 2016. However, local Indian media have reported frustrations over delays in awarding a contract to develop a major gas field known as Farzad B in the Gulf.

India’s foreign ministry said on Saturday that “discussions continue” on Farzad B.

Published in Dawn, February 18th, 2018

Opinion

A fragmenting ummah
Updated 23 Jul 2021

A fragmenting ummah

Muslims are suffering in many parts of the world, all of which is known by other Muslims, but that nevertheless continues.
Virtual vultures
Updated 22 Jul 2021

Virtual vultures

Pegasus software has stirred a storm of indignation across the globe.
Shifting goalposts
Updated 20 Jul 2021

Shifting goalposts

Afghanistan is one place where proxy war by regional and bigger powers has always been a constant.

Editorial

India’s admission
Updated 21 Jul 2021

India’s admission

It was no secret that India had been manoeuvring behind the scenes to ensure that Pakistan remained on the grey list.
EU headscarf ban
Updated 23 Jul 2021

EU headscarf ban

Moves by the EU to curtail the religious freedoms of Muslims and others in the bloc need to be reviewed.
Disposal of offal
Updated 22 Jul 2021

Disposal of offal

The least people can do is to make an effort and dump entrails in designated areas.
New blow for Pak-Afghan ties
Updated 20 Jul 2021

New blow for Pak-Afghan ties

Islamabad police need to build a watertight case around their final conclusions because the stakes could not have been higher.
20 Jul 2021

FDI decline

THE worrisome, sharp decline in the more permanent, non-debt-creating foreign direct investment, or FDI, should be a...
20 Jul 2021

Another tragic accident

ALMOST every other week, if not every other day, newspapers report deadly road and rail accidents. It has been ...