India’s Minister for Road Transport & Highways and Shipping, Shri Nitin Gadkari, has said that the government is hopeful of starting operations at Chabahar Port in Iran by the end of 2018. Construction work has already got underway and the Indian Government has allocated Rs 6 billion (US$ 93.6 million) for the development of the port. Out of this, tenders worth Rs 380 Crore (US$ 59.7 million) for handling equipment have already been finalised.
Iran’s Chabahar port located in the Sistan-Baluchistan Province on the south-eastern coast is a port of great strategic importance for India, as it lies outside the Persian Gulf and can be accessed from India’s western coast. Following on from an MoU signed between India and Iran in May last year, India is to equip and operate two berths in Chabahar Port Phase I, involving capital investment of US $85.21 million and annual revenue expenditure of US$ 22.95 million on a 10 year lease agreement. Ownership of the equipment purchased will revert to the Iranian side after ten years, or longer with mutual agreement.