In­dia, Iran keep Chaba­har port prom­ise

Nitin Gad­kari, Min­is­ter for Ship­ping, Road Trans­port and High­ways, Gov­ern­ment of In­dia, was present at the in­au­gu­ra­tion and oath-tak­ing cer­e­mony of Dr Has­san Rouhani as the Pres­i­dent of Iran for a sec­ond term.

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Gad­kari held wide rang­ing dis­cus­sions on many is­sues, in­clud­ing In­dia’s co­op­er­a­tion in the de­vel­op­ment of Chaba­har port and the pro­posed rail link be­tween Chaba­har and Za­hedan. In the meet­ings, both sides pos­i­tively as­sessed the progress in im­ple­men­ta­tion of the de­ci­sions taken dur­ing the Prime Min­is­ter’s visit to Iran last year, in­clud­ing the progress of Chaba­har port. Both sides re­it­er­ated their com­mit­ment to com­plete and op­er­a­tionalise the port at the ear­li­est.

Gad­kari high­lighted the is­sue of ac­ti­va­tion of con­tract of Chaba­har port de­vel­op­ment and con­veyed to him that In­dia Ports Global Ltd (IPGL) has fi­nalised pro­cure­ment of crit­i­cal equip­ment such as rail­mounted gantry cranes, and is close to fi­nal­is­ing or­ders re­lat­ing to rub­ber-tyred mo­bile cranes, con­tainer han­dlers, truck and trac­tor­trail­ers, con­tain­ers, etc. He also con­veyed In­dia’s readi­ness to aid Iran in tak­ing up op­er­a­tions in Chaba­har port dur­ing the in­terim pe­riod be­tween the ac­tual ac­ti­va­tion of con­tract. He re­quested the Ira­nian side for early sub­mis­sion of loan ap­pli­ca­tion for Chaba­har port de­vel­op­ment to EXIM Bank of In­dia so that the con­tract agree­ment be­tween the two coun­tries can be ac­ti­vated. It may be re­called that the Ira­nian side had re­quested In­dia to pro­vide up to $150 mil­lion credit and had made it a con­di­tion for ac­ti­va­tion of the port con­tract. The ap­pli­ca­tion for loan to EXIM Bank of In­dia is still awaited.

Later, Gad­kari met with Ab­bas Akhoundi, the Ira­nian Min­is­ter for Roads and Ur­ban De­vel­op­ment, and con­veyed to him the lat­est up­date on pro­cure­ment of equip­ment for the two ter­mi­nals—mul­tipur­pose and con­tainer— that are cov­ered un­der the Chaba­har port agree­ment. He also re­quested Dr Akhoundi that in the in­ter­est of sup­port­ing op­er­a­tions of Chaba­har port, the Ira­nian side should con­sider waiv­ing off the con­di­tion of sub­mis­sion of loan ap­pli­ca­tion as it was tak­ing time. The Ira­nian side as­sured that the ap­pli­ca­tion will be pre­sented to EXIM Bank of In­dia soon.

In his meet­ing with Dr Akhoundi, Gad­kari stressed upon the need for mar­ket­ing of Chaba­har port to at­tract cargo. He said Iran and In­dia should jointly or­gan­ise a work­shop at Chaba­har for this pur­pose at an early date. He also em­pha­sised the need to de­velop rail con­nec­tiv­ity from Chaba­har to Za­hedan, and said that the MoU with In­dia in this re­gard may be ex­tended. The is­sue of rat­i­fi­ca­tion of the tri­lat­eral Tran­sit Agree­ment be­tween In­dia, Iran and Afghanistan was also dis­cussed. While In­dia and Afghanistan have rat­i­fied the agree­ment, Iran is yet to do so.

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