India and Chabahar – Sustaining Commitment | Security Risks Asia Made with Humane Club

India and Chabahar – Sustaining Commitment

Published Jul 08, 2019
Updated Apr 10, 2020

The Indian Ambassador to Tehran Gaddam Dharmendra  has attempted to dispel the notion that India is downplaying the commitment made to Chabahar even as there are concerns of US pressure to reduce the profile of the project which has been granted only Rs 50 Crore in the budget this year.

Location of Chabahar and Anzali free trade zones as entry and exit origin of North-South Corridor and legal exemptions of these zones will play a significant role in the development of ties between Iran and India and will also be gateway of trade ties of the country with the Central Asia.

Iran and India are engaging based on relations  with the trade communities of the two countries which have known each other for a long time and despite the US pressure due to sanctions and demands made on India, there is a consistent strengthening of ties seen with the meeting of the foreign ministers last month.

As per a report in the Tehran Times, Indian Ambassador to Tehran Gaddam Dharmendra said India will fulfill all its commitments in Iran’s Chabahar Port despite the economic hurdles, Mehr news agency reported.

The official made the remarks on Saturday during a meeting on exploring investment potentials and opportunities in Chabahar Port.

Dharmendra highlighted the importance of the Iranian port for the Indian government adding that more negotiations are required to be made about the commitments of India in this port. “Considering the growth in trade between Iran and India, Indian ports as well as Chabahar are very important ports and we will definitely do what we have pledged,” Dharmendra said. Mentioning the port’s development deal, the official noted that the two sides should consider the credit lines of the short-term and the long-term contracts in the form of a single package.

He also referred to the efforts made by the Indian and Afghan governments to exclude Chabahar Port from the U.S. sanctions, noting that “there are still some banking challenges.”

 “I agree that we have lost time and 180 days have passed since the work began,” the official said. “Chabahar is of great importance to us, given the strategic position of the Indian Ocean and the willingness of Indian state and private sectors for presence in the region,” he added.

The envoy, further underlined the growth in the two countries trade in the recent years, saying “during the past few years, Iran and India’s trade has grown 30 percent reaching $17 billion per year.” “A banking channel has been specified in India to trade with Iran for easing commodity exchange,” he added.

Iran, India and Afghanistan signed a trilateral agreement on the development of Chabahar Port in Tehran in May 2016 to establish a strategic transit and transport route connecting the three countries. The agreement aims at developing the southern Iran port into a regional trade hub. However, India began commercial activity at Chabahar on January 8th.

In early March, India Global Ports Limited (IGPL) announced that it is committed to investing up to $500m to develop Chabahar Port in southern Iran as part of series of projects worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Alireza Jahan, the representative of the Iranian partner of IGPL, said the investments will be made over the next 10 years to equip the port of Chabahar with special loading and unloading harbor facilities.

IGPL has been tasked with administering and running the terminal of the first phase of ‘Beheshti harbor’ at Chabahar Port. On June 6, Head of Chabahar’s Shahid Kalantari Port Mojtaba Mohammadzadeh revealed the readiness of Chabahar Port for exporting refrigerated products and transit of dried nuts of Afghanistan to India. To pave suitable ways for exporting agricultural and fishery products and helping promotion of domestic products, refrigerated containers have been constructed in Shahid Kalantari Port in Chabahar in order to export refrigerated products to abroad, he maintained.