Chabahar Port a gateway to golden opportunities said Minister Gadkari.Boosting bilateral trade and ties is important to operationalise the strategic Chabahar Port at the earliest.
It will provide alternate access to landlocked Afghanistan to regional and global markets, the statement said.
This project gives further hopes of rolling out infrastructure projects in Iran and Afghanistan.
“Talks are on for building railways and roads through Chabahar till Afghanistan and then we have access to Russia.
We are hopeful that Chabahar will be operationalised in 12 to 18 months time” Gadkari told PTI.
Chabahar port is located in the Sistan-Balochistan province in the energy-rich Persian Gulf nation’s southern coast.
It lies outside the Persian Gulf and is easily accessed from India’s western coast, bypassing Pakistan.
“We are hopeful of ratification of Trilateral Transit and Transport Agreement by Iran and once approvals are given, the work will start,” Gadkari said.
The trilateral pact was inked during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Tehran in May 2016.
The pact envisages establishment of Transit and Transport Corridor between India, Iran and Afghanistan using Chabahar Port.
It is seen as as one of the regional hubs for sea transportation in Iran besides multi-modal transport of goods and passengers across the three nations.
The Cabinet and the President had ratified the pact in November and December, 2016 respectively.
A government official said Afghanistan has also ratified it but Iran is yet to complete the internal processes of the ratification.
India has already built the Zaranj-Delaram Road in Afghanistan where the cargo reaching Zehedan can connect to.
“The rail route is aimed at connecting the existing rail network of Iran at Zahedan, and subsequently to Mashad in north area.
It will thereby providing access to Turkmenistan as well as northern Afghanistan through its connection to the Bafq- Mashad route,” an official said.
This project will significantly enhance the opportunity for trade and business among the nations.
Chabahar-Zahedan Railway line project is located in the Minister Gadkari.
province in eastern Iran.
Gadkari’s visit finalised some tenders for installation of key equipment at the port.
“Civil construction work has started there. We have finalised tenders worth Rs 380 crore for equipment out of Rs 600 crore.
Once the port becomes operational it will become a growth engine,” the minister had said.
The Cabinet last year cleared proposals for development of Chabahar port including a USD 150 million credit from Exim Bank.
It also authorised the Shipping Ministry to form a company in Iran for implementing the Chabahar Port Development Project and related activities.
As per the MoU signed between the two nations in May last year, India is to equip and operate two berths in Chabahar Port Phase-I.
It will require capital investment of USD 85.21 million and annual revenue expenditure of USD 22.95 million on a 10-year lease.
Ownership of the equipment will be transferred to the Iranian side on completion of 10 years or for an extended period, based on mutual agreement.
The Iranian side had requested for provision of a credit of USD 150 million in accordance with the MoU.
As per the pact, operations of the two berths are to commence within a period of maximum 18 months after the signing of the contract.
Besides the bilateral pact to develop the Chabahar port, for which India will invest USD 500 million, a trilateral Agreement on Transport and Transit Corridor has also been signed by India, Afghanistan and Iran.