Iran:In what seems to be a successful strategic policy initiative, Iran will now hand over the strategic Chabahar port to an Indian company within a month for operations as per an interim pact between two countries, said Iranian Minister of Roads and Urban Development Abbas Akhoundi said Thursday.
Abbas Akhoundi has arrived in India to participate in the Mobility Summit by Niti Aaayog on the invitation of the Indian government. “Now, we are ready just to hand over the port (Chabahar) to the Indian company to operate this in an interim agreement that already we had with Indian part for one and a half year”, Akhoundi told to the media in New Delhi.
He also said that India has also introduced a banking channel to ease trade and investment, which has also been approved by Iran’s central bank. Reportedly, discussions are underway between UCO Bank and Bank Pasargad for payment mechanism by which US-driven sanctions can be avoided. He further added that both countries are moving forward towards the utilization of the Chabahar port. Akkoundi said that handing over the port will be done within one month.
Chabahar, the only Iranian port with direct access to the ocean, lies in the Makran coast of south-eastern Iran is a highly energy-rich coast but underdeveloped free trade and industrial zone.
Chabahar is one of the most important strategic areas of influence for India, as it is located just 76 nautical miles (less than 150km) west of the Pakistani port of Gwadar, being developed by China. This makes it ideal for keeping track of Chinese or Pakistani military activity based out of Gwadar.