Indian firms will definitely take part in Chabahar project

With India looking to invest Rs 2 lakh crore at Chabahar SEZ in Iran, the Indian envoy to Tehran toured the strategically important port and said Indian firms will definitely take part in projects there.


The Chabahar port is crucial as it will give India sea-land access to Afghanistan bypassing Pakistan. The Chabahar port enjoys many remarkable capacities and serves as a point which links the two governments of Iran and India, Indian Ambassador to Tehran Saurabh Kumar said during his tour of the port.


India is ready to invest Rs 2 lakh crore at Chabahar SEZ in Iran but the investments would depend on gas prices, Transport and Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari said last month.


The Indian Ambassador toured the port in the Sistan- Baluchestan province and also inspected the the development project of a jetty at the Chabahar port, the Iranian IRNA news agency reported. He said India was seeking investments in the second phase of the jetty.


He referred to a recent agreement between Iran, India and Afghanistan on transit cooperation and said the second meeting on the issue is to be held in New Delhi soon. Indian firms will definitely take part in Chabahar projects, Kumar was quoted as saying by the state-run news agency.


According to a local official, once implemented, the jetty development project will raise the operational capacity of the port to 86 million tonnes.


Notwithstanding US objections, India earlier this year had inked a pact with Iran for the development of the port. Access to Afghanistan's Garland Highway can be made from Chahbahar port using the existing Iranian road network and the Zaranj-Delaram road, constructed by India in 2009.


This would establish road access to four of the major cities of Afghanistan -- Herat, Kandahar, Kabul and Mazar-e-Sharif.


The port will be also used to ship crude oil and urea, saving India transportation costs. It would cut transport costs and freight time for India to Central Asia and the Gulf by about a third.