Iranian President Hassan Rouhani inaugurated the first phase of the Chabahar port, called the Shahid Beheshti port, in the Sistan-Balochistan province on December 3, paving the way for a new strategic transit route between India, Iran and Afghanistan, bypassing Pakistan. India’s minister of state for shipping Pon Radhakrishnan was present at the event.
Easily accessible from India’s western coast, the port is expected to accelerate trade between India, Afghanistan and Iran as Pakistan does not allow transit access to New Delhi for trade with the other two countries.
India will equip and operate two berths in the phase-I of the Chabahar Port with a capital investment of $85.21 million and annual revenue expenditure of $22.95 million on a 10-year lease, according to Indian media reports.
Indian external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj met her Iranian counterpart Javed Zarif in Tehran a day before the inauguration and discussed the implementation of the Chabahar port project along with other issues. Swaraj stopped at Tehran while returning from Sochi in Russia after attending the annual summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.
India sent its first consignment of wheat to Afghanistan by sea through the Chabahar port over a month ago, marking opening of the new route.