Iran inaugurates Chabahar port extension

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at the inauguration of the newly built extension of the port of Chabahar near the Pakistani border on the Gulf of Oman in southeastern Iran on Sunday

First phase of strategic Chabahar port, party developed by India, inaugurated by Iranian President

"We should go after positive competition".

China Monday hoped that the launch of the strategic Chabahar port in Iran which enables India to directly trade with Afghanistan besides rivalling Pakistan's Gwadar port is conducive to regional peace and stability.

India has prepared massive investment plans, which will include a network of roads and railways at a cost of Dollars 15 billion, as part of its strategic push in the area.

Currently, 100,000-ton ships are capable of mooring, and this can play a significant role in the import and export of basic goods. The port is expected to be operational by the end of 2018.

A total of $1 billion has been spent on preparing and equipping the first phase of Chabahar's Shahid Beheshti Port. The two ministers are understood to have reviewed the implementation of the Chabahar port project in which India is a key partner.

Those nations are developing the $46bn China Pakistan Economic Corridor that winds down to Pakistan's port of Gwadar, less than 100km from Chabahar. As per the reports, the Chabahar port pact allows the Afghanistan to import and export goods from markets like India after reducing its dependence on Pakistan's Karachi port.

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The port, located on the coast of the Gulf of Oman in Iran's southeastern Sistan-Baluchestan province, has two docks. On the inauguration of Chabahar port India said this construction will contribute to regional trade and provide Afghanistan with global market alternative access.

Over a month ago, India had sent its first consignment of wheat to Afghanistan by sea through the Chabahar port, marking opening of the new strategic transit route. Chabahar also has an worldwide airport and Iran's Navy and Air Force have bases in the city, adding to the ports value. India committed up to $500 million for the development of the Chahabar Port along with associated roads and rail lines.

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani inaugurated the Shahid Beheshti Port's first phase in a ceremony that was attended by ministers, envoys and officials from 17 countries, including Minister of State for Shipping Pon Radhakrishnan.

Reiterating the importance of Chabahar as a hub for regional economic connectivity and their commitment to work towards this objective, the Ministers commended the joint efforts of the three countries in the recent successful transit of wheat from India to Afghanistan through Chabahar.

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said the port would reinforce mutual and regional cooperation between Iran and India.

In a surprise visit, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Saturday stopped over in Tehran for a short lunch meeting with her counterpart Javad Zarif.

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