India and Iran on 6 May 2015 signed an inter-Governmental Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the development of the strategically important Chabahar Port in Iran.
The MoU was signed in Tehran by Minister for Shipping and Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari and Iranian Minister for Transport and Urban Development Abbas Ahmad Akhoundi.
Features of this inter-Governmental MoU
• The MOU facilitates Indian and Iranian commercial entities to commence negotiations for finalization of a commercial contract.
• Under the contract, Indian firms will lease two existing berths at the Port and operationalize them as container and multi-purpose cargo terminals.
Benefit of the MoU
This MoU will facilitate availability of functional container and cargo terminal to India at the port which will provide Afghanistan’s garland road network system alternate access to a sea port. It will also enhance Afghanistan’s overall connectivity to regional and global markets significantly and provide a boost to the ongoing reconstruction and humanitarian efforts in the country.
The port located in Sistan-Balochistan Province on Iran's southeastern coast is of great strategic utility for India and will also provide a sea-land access route to Afghanistan bypassing Pakistan. The port will be used to ship crude oil and urea, saving India transportation costs.
Comment: The MoU may work as a setback for United States, which has been asking India and other countries not to rush into doing business with Iran. It has asked other countries to halt their process of doing business with Iran as Washington is yet to work out a deal with Tehran on the latter's contentious nuclear programme.
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Where: In Tehran
When: 6 April 2015
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