PM Modi to take call soon on developing Chabahar port

India has already pledged to invest about $85 mn in developing the strategic port located off Iran's south- eastern coast, which would provide India a sea-land access route to Afghanistan bypassing Pakistan. 


A group of ministers (GOM) chaired by roads, transport and shipping minister Nitin Gadkari has asked all the ministries involved in the development of the proposed Chabahar port in Iran to send in their detailed plans in 10 days. 


Ministries such as the railways, shipping and petroleum, which have proposed to undertake various projects, have to send their plans to the external affairs ministry and the National Security Advisor (NSA), a senior government official told ET. 


"Chabahar port in Iran offers huge investment opportunities to India and Prime Minister Narendra Modi will take a call on it based on reports by key ministries," Gadkari said. National Security Advisor Ajit Doval also attended the meeting along with railway minister Suresh Prabhu and petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan. "Discussed cooperation with Iran for development of Chabahar port with minister shipping, railways and NSA," 


Pradhan said in a tweet after the meeting. This project has immense strategic value for India as it offers an alternate route to Afghanistan around Pakistan. 


The port will be connected to Zahedan on the Iran-Afghan border through a railway line, which will also be built by Indian construction company IRCON. The port will be also used to ship crude oil and urea, saving India transportation costs. It will cut transport costs and freight time for India to Central Asia and the Gulf by about a third. To implement the Chabahar port development project, which will require about Rs 2,260 crore, India wants Iran to provide substantial land in the Chabahar SEZ for setting up of petrochemicals, fertilizer and gasbased industries by Indian firms.