Chabahar Port project to take off soon, says Nitin Gadkari

New Delhi: Union Shipping Minister Nitin Gadakri has said the work on Chabahar Port will begin soon once the tender process is over and hoped the project will open a new gateway for development of India, Iran and Afghanistan by boosting regional connectivity and trade.

All the three nations are keen on expediting tripartite transit agreement on Chabahar port, Gadkari said after holding a meeting with delegations from Iran and Afghanistan.

“We are keen on expanding scope of cooperation to cover development of entire Chabahar Port…This port is going to open a new gateway not only for the development of India but at the same time development of Afghanistan and Iran. This is a win-win situation,” Gadkari said.

Wednesday’s meeting was held barely a fortnight after Prime Minister Narendra Modi and visiting Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during their talks in Delhi, had stressed that expediting the trilateral pact would augment connectivity among the three nations.

Gadkari said, “We will try to complete the project within the time schedule. We are also finding out what are the new things for which we will have opportunity for development and investment. The Iranian Minister has given lots of innovative suggestions regarding the development of business.”

“We are in the process and our Prime Minister is very keen on the project…The distance between Kandla to Chabahar is less than the distance between Delhi and Mumbai. So there are lots of opportunities. Gas and petroleum products in Iran are available. We will get the market of Afghanistan also and the material from Afghanistan to Chabahar will be accessible to India,” he added.

He said the problems in the project have been sorted out and the nations are looking on building up on this friendship and creating more business opportunities.

A “milestone” pact on the strategic Chabahar port in southern Iran, which will give India access to Afghanistan and Europe bypassing Pakistan, was inked by India and Iran in May this year after detailed discussions between PM Modi and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

Besides the bilateral pact to develop the Chabahar port, for which India will invest $500 million, a trilateral agreement on Transport and Transit Corridor was also signed by India, Afghanistan and Iran, which Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said could “alter the course of the history of the region”.