Iran Minister Mehdi Safari Pitches for Chabahar Port at India Central Asia Meet in Mumbai

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Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister for Economic Relations Mehdi Safari has pitched for Chabahar port as key connectivity & trade route at the India Central Asia meet that took place in Mumbai. The two-day meeting, which began on Wednesday, was the first meeting of the India – Central Asia Joint Working Group on Chabahar port development.

Mehdi Safari speaking at the meet said, “Countries have expressed on different occasions strong interest to utilize the opportunities Chabahar offers. There have been numerous visits by officials of these countries to Chabahar, and there have been some discussions of land lease, and ownership by Central Asian countries in Chabahar”. The Iranian minister was joined by Iran’s Ambassador to India Iraj Elahi at the meeting.

The India Central Asia Joint Working Group on Chabahar meeting is a significant development in strengthening the connectivity between India, Central Asia, and Iran. The meeting included representatives from India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, along with Iran and the United Nations World Food Programme (UNWFP) as special invitees. It is one of the key outcomes of the Delhi Declaration from the first India Central Asia summit held in January last year, which aimed to enhance cooperation and collaboration in various areas. 

The Chabahar port, located in the southeastern Iranian city of Chabahar, is strategically positioned as a commercial transit hub for the region. India, Iran, and Afghanistan signed a trilateral agreement in 2016 to establish the International Transport and Transit Corridor (Chabahar Agreement), with India committing USD 85 Million in total grant assistance and a credit facility of USD 150 Million for the development of the Shahid Behesti Terminal, Chabahar Port. India has also provided equipment worth USD 25 Million to aid in the development of the port, including six Mobile Harbour Cranes.

The Chabahar free trade zone established by Iran aims to attract investment and utilize the advantages of the port, which is the only oceanic port in Iran. The development of the Shahid Behesti Terminal and the utilization of the Chabahar port by participating countries is expected to increase economic and trade opportunities for the region.

The India Central Asia Joint Working Group on Chabahar meeting is expected to further strengthen India’s connectivity focus with Central Asian countries and Iran. It provides an opportunity for the participating countries to discuss and explore possibilities for greater trade and investment cooperation, as well as the use of the Chabahar port to enhance connectivity between the regions.

Source : WION