India Plans to use the Iranian Port as a Gateway to Central Asia and Afghanistan.

India Plans to use the Iranian Port as a Gateway to Central Asia and Afghanistan.

NEW DELHI: With the recent agreement to manage the Iranian port of Chabahar, India is anticipated to have access to landlocked Afghanistan and Central Asia, potentially posing a threat to Pakistan’s Gwadar.

The state-owned Indian Ports Global Ltd. and the Port & Maritime Organisation of Iran signed a 10-year deal in Tehran on Monday, wherein India would invest $120 million in Chabahar’s infrastructure.

Sarbananda Sonowal, India’s Minister of Shipping, hailed the agreement, describing the port’s development as a “port for trade with Afghanistan and broader Central Asian countries” and referring to it as an “India-Iran flagship project.

When Iran, India, and Afghanistan signed a trilateral transit agreement in May 2016 to turn the port into a hub for regional trade, New Delhi pledged to support Chabahar.

When the project’s negotiations began, D.P. Srivastava, the Indian ambassador to Iran, said, “The signing of the deal signifies the strength of bilateral ties between India and Iran.” The current agreement will advance the work that has already been done.

Following the US’s easing of sanctions against Iran, India became involved in Chabahar in 2016. In 2021, Donald Trump’s administration reinstated the sanctions. Flagship project of the multibillion-dollar China–Pakistan Economic Corridor under Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative.

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