Deal on Chabahar port likely during Gadkari’s Iran visit
India is likely to sign an agreement with Iran for the development of the strategically important Chabahar port during Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari’s visit to that country from tomorrow.
“Gadkari is scheduled to visit Iran on May 5. During his visit India and Iran may sign a memorandum of understanding for development of Chabahar port,” an official source said. Significantly, last US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman has said India and other countries should “not rush” into doing business with Iran as Washington is yet to work out its nuclear deal with Tehran.
Chabahar port is located in Sistan-Baluchistan Province on Iran’s south-eastern coast and is of great strategic utility for India, which will get sea-land access route into Afghanistan bypassing Pakistan.
The port would cut transport costs and freight time for India to Central Asia and the Gulf by about a third. Last week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had assured Afghan President Ashraf Ghani of India’s commitment to building the port. Earlier, Gadkari had also said, “We are setting up a port in Chabahar, Iran... We will complete the port in about one- and-a-half years... The distance between Chabahar to Gujarat is less than Delhi to Mumbai.”