Shipping Minister Sonowal Departs for Iran to Evaluate the Development of the Chabahar Port
Sarbananda Sonowal, the Union Minister of Ports, Shipping, and Waterways, departed for Iran on Thursday for a four-day visit. During this time, he will examine the first phase of the Chabahar port’s development, meet with senior officials from the Central Asian nations, and look into economic opportunities.
The Chabahar port, which is being developed by India, Iran, and Afghanistan to strengthen economic relations, is situated in the province of Sistan-Balochistan on the energy-rich Iranian southern coast.
Sonowal told PTI before departing for Tehran, “During my visit to Iran, I will evaluate the development of the Chabahar port and look for business opportunities between South Asia and Central Asia.” The minister announced that in order to explore commercial opportunities, he will meet with Chabahar port stakeholders, have meetings with Iranian government officials, and attend business-to-business (B2B) gatherings.
Sonowal’s trip to Iran came a fortnight after India sponsored an event on “Chabahar Day” to promote “Chabahar-Link to INSTC-Connecting Central Asian Markets.” The International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) is India’s vision and initiative to shorten the time it takes for EXIM exports to access the Central Asian markets and travel to Russia and Europe. “Our objective is to create at Chabahar port a transit hub and link it to INSTC to reach out to Central Asian countries,” Sonowal stated.
According to him, the India-led connectivity projects help provide Central Asian countries with safe and commercially viable access to the Indian Ocean region because of the potential of the Central Asian market. He claimed that the Chabahar port is a strategically placed structure that can connect South Asia and Central Asia. Sonowal added. “The Chabahar port would improve the Central Asian region’s logistics network and promote joint efforts to establish a regional transnational transport corridor, which will increase not only Indian trade but also global trade.”
India committed in 2015 to supporting the construction of Iran’s Chabahar port and a related railway, allowing India to conduct business with Afghanistan without Pakistan’s interference. India began construction on Chabahar port last year after a brief pause. Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Iran in May 2016 and struck a deal to spend $500 million on the port’s development and related infrastructure. Almost a dozen agreements were inked between India and Iran during Modi’s visit, with the development of the important Chabahar port serving as its centrepiece. (Seatrade news)
Sonowal will stop through the United Arab Emirates’ Jebel Ali port on his return trip. The deep port, which has the largest man-made harbour in the world, is the busiest port in the Middle East.