New Delhi, Sep 7 : Iranian Minister said Tehran will handover the strategic Chabahar port to an Indian company within a month for operation. The opening of Chabahar port, a new strategic route connecting Iran, India and Afghanistan bypassing Pakistan, will present opportunities to trade with Central Asian countries .
Iranian Minister of Roads and Urban Development Abbas Akhoundi is in India to participate in the Mobility Summit by NITI Aaayog on the government’s invitation. “Everything is in place and moving forward and we think the Chabahar port will be handed to Indian authorities within one month to operate this as per the interim agreement that already we had with Indian part for one and a half year,” Akhoundi said.
The Chabahar port is seen as a counter to Pakistan’s Gwadar Port located at distance of around 80 kms from Chabahar.
When asked about reports that US asked India to not import oil from Iran,Iran Minister said, “India and Iran relationship is essential for region and we are looking at ways to work together. USA is an outsider in region so the insiders should come together & continue friendship.”
Akhoundi after a meeting with his Indian counterpart Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari said: “We have already moved one step forward…We should introduce a banking channel to India, which we already did it and fortunately has been formally accepted by the Indian side”.
“Indian side had investment in Chabahar port and we are moving towards utilisation of the Chabahar port,” Mr Akhoundi said.
The first phase of the Chabahar port was inaugurated in December 2017 by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.”The routes of the region should be connected on land, sea and air,” Hassan Rouhani had said at the inauguration ceremony.
He said the India has also introduced a banking channel, which has been approved by Iran’s Central Bank.