India-Iran-Afghanistan pact for trans­port

The agreement is aimed at fur­ther deep­en­ing India-Iran ties in di­verse fields, cov­ered ar­eas of econ­omy, trade, trans­porta­tion, port de­vel­op­ment, cul­ture, science and aca­demic co­op­er­a­tion.

Cargo Talk - - Guestcolumn -

Con­nec­tiv­ity, en­ergy security, in­vest­ment and bi­lat­eral trade were on top of Prime Minister Naren­dra Modi’s agenda dur­ing his visit to Iran. India signed several deals, in­clud­ing on shar­ing in­tel­li­gence to com­bat ter­ror­ism and in­creas­ing cul­tural and tech­nol­ogy con­tact.

The most note­wor­thy of the 12 agree­ments signed be­tween Prime Min­ster and Ira­nian Pres­i­dent Has­san Rouhani is India’s in­vest­ment of $500 mil­lion into de­vel­op­ing Iran’s Chaba­har port.

A tri­lat­eral agreement on trans­port and tran­sit cor­ri­dor was also signed by India, Afghanistan and Iran, which Prime Minister said could al­ter the course of the his­tory of the re­gion. It will sig­nif­i­cantly ease the pas­sage of goods be­tween the three coun­tries and boost trade. Fu­ture plan in­clude an in­ter­na­tional North-South Trans­port Cor­ri­dor through Iran to Rus­sia and Europe.

Chaba­har port is lo­cated on the en­ergy-rich Per­sian Gulf na­tion’s south­ern coast, out­side the Per­sian Gulf, 700 km away from Za­hedan, the cap­i­tal of the Sis­tan and Baluchis­tan province. It is the only Ira­nian port with di­rect ac­cess to the ocean.

State-run rail­way body IRCON In­ter­na­tional will set up a rail­way line at Chaba­har to move goods right up to Afghanistan. The 500km rail link be­tween Chaba­har and Za­hedan will link Delhi to the rest of Iran’s rail­way net­work. Also, part of the agreement is a free trade zone

`one where a to­tal in­vest­ment of lakh crore is en­vis­aged. In­dian com­pa­nies would set up a range of in­dus­tries from alu­minium smelter to urea plants in the re­gion. There will be sign­ing of two con­tracts, one by In­dian Ports Global with Arya Ban­dar Com­pany of Iran for de­vel­op­ing two ter­mi­nals and five multi-cargo berth in Phase 1 of the Chaba­har port project.

India is to equip and op­er­ate two berths in Chaba­har Port Phase-I with cap­i­tal in­vest­ment of $85.21 mil­lion and an­nual rev­enue ex­pen­di­ture of $22.95 mil­lion on a 10 year lease. Op­er­a­tion of two berths will com­mence within a pe­riod of max­i­mum 18 months af­ter the sign­ing of the con­tract.

India is also re­ported to fi­nance an­other road net­work in­side Afghanistan to en­able Iran to ac­cess as far as Ta­jik­istan through a shorter route. Chaba­har is about 100 km from the Chi­nese-run Gwadar port in Pak­istan, which is part of China’s USD 46 bil­lion plan to de­velop China Pak­istan Eco­nomic Cor­ri­dor aimed at open­ing new trade and trans­port routes across Asia.

A tri­lat­eral agreement on trans­port and tran­sit cor­ri­dor was also signed by India, Afghanistan and Iran, which could al­ter the course of the his­tory of the re­gion

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