It took 13 years because of sanctions on Iran but New Delhi and Tehran finally inked the deal to develop the Chabahar port along with 11 other agreements in what takes India’s relation with Iran to another level.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is the first Indian PM to visit Iran in 15 years, was present with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at the time of signing of agreements.
Indian and Iranian officials sign agreements as PM Modi and President Rouhani look on. MIB/Facebook
The Chabahar port agreement is seen as a geopolitical game changer for India as it aims to counter a China-Pakistan axis in the Arabian Sea.
The port, once completed, will help India reach the markets of Afghanistan by bypassing Pakistan. Currently, India’s trade route with Afghanistan passes cuts through Pakistan.
Islamabad has often used this geographic advantage to create roadblocks in Indio-Afghan trade.
Once the Chabahar port is ready, India will carry out its exports to Afghanistan via a combination of sea and land route that passes through Iran.
From Afghanistan, India will be further able to extend its trade route to Russia and European countries.
India will invest more than Rs.1 lakh crore in the construction of the port and development of industries such as aluminum smelters to urea plants in Chabahar free trade zone.
Hassan Rouhani and PM Modi holding a delegation-level talks. MIB/Facebook
Of the 12 agreements signed between India and Iran, four are related to Chabahar.
Chabahar is India’s answer to the Gwadar port, which is coming up to the south of Pakistan. Constructed by China, the Gwadar port will give Beijing a direct access to the Arabian Sea and all of its coasts in the Middle East, India and East Africa. To end the Chinese hegemony over the Arabian Sea, which would have threatened India’s trade routes, the Chabahar port, located just 72 kms west of Gwadar, is a strategic ammo that India must have with itself.