Iran, India, Afghanistan kick off talks on Chabahar Port project

TEHRAN, Oct. 23 (MNA) – Iran, India and Afghanistan are reviewing the progress on completing the Chabahar Port project that will provide India a critical transport link to Afghanistan bypassing Pakistan.

The trilateral meeting is being held in Tehran, with a focus on fast-tracking the operations on development of Chabahar Port, which is considered a gateway to golden opportunities for India, Iran and Afghanistan to expand trade with Central Asian countries.

The meeting is attended by Iran's Ports and Maritime Organization (PMO) Managing Director Mohammad Rastad, India’s Secretary of Economic Relations in the Ministry of External Affairs T. S. Tirumurti, and Afghanistan’s deputy minister of Transport and Civil Aviation.

Should the sides reach consensus over the drafts of Chabahar agreement, they will be scheduled to ink the final deal later today.

Chabahar Port, which lies on the Sea of Oman, provides the closest and safest transit channel to Afghanistan. So far, India has sent three cargo ships of wheat and grains to the port to be trucked to Afghanistan.

The port is easily accessible from India’s western coast.

Under an agreement signed between India and Iran in May 2016, India is to equip and operate two berths in Chabahar Port Phase-I with a capital investment of $85.21 million and annual revenue expenditure of $22.95 million on a 10-year lease.

MR/4438674

News Code 138963

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