Iran launches commercial port in Oman Sea

First phase of strategic Chabahar port, party developed by India, inaugurated by Iranian President

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani inaugurated a newly built extension of the Chabahar Port on Sunday December 3 2017, according to Yahoo.

Rouhani inaugurated the expansion, carried out with an investment of $1bn including $235mn from India, which has more than tripled the port's capacity to 8.5 million tonnes a year, state television reported.

Easily accessible from India's western coast, the port is expected to accelerate trade between India, Afghanistan and Iran as Pakistan does not allow transit access to New Delhi for trade with the other two countries.

The inking of the port deal had caused tensions between Tehran and Islamabad at the time.

As per Iran media reports, Iran's ambassador to Pakistan, Mehdi Honerdoost stated that Pakistan and China had both been invited to contribute to the project before India, but neither China nor Pakistan had expressed interest in joining.

A statement from the Indian Ministry of External Affairs said: "The Ministers agreed to further intensify efforts on issues concerning regional connectivity and focusing on Chabahar Port development under the Trilateral Transit and Trade Agreement at the Trilateral Meeting".

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Iran has launched one of its major post-nuclear deal projects - the port of Chabahar - pushing further for engagement with the global community, days before the US Congress' expected decision on whether Washington will pull out of the landmark worldwide accord.

They announced they would organize a connectivity event involving all stakeholders at Chabahar at the earliest so as to increase awareness about the new opportunities offered by the Port.

In October, India sent its first consignment of wheat to Afghanistan through Chabahar, which is about 140km from Pakistan's Gwadar port.

New Delhi views the Chabahar port project as a strategic response to China's development of the Gwadar port in Pakistan, and its aggressive pursuit of the Belt and Road Initiative. Akbar was speaking at the 7th Meeting of Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan (RECCA), which was formed to promote peace in Afghanistan.

India has prepared massive investment plans, which will include a network of roads and railways at a cost of United States dollars 15 billion, as part of its strategic push in the area. But those hopes were belied when Pakistan refused to allow Afghan trucks to come up to the Indian border at Attari, Punjab, or take back Indian goods.

"Chabahar should also have road, rail and airport to be all set for imports and exports", he added. This also means that Afghanistan will not need to be dependent on Pakistan's Karachi port alone for sending its goods out to global markets. Both the port development pact and the connectivity agreement were signed during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Tehran in May a year ago.

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