Dr. Jaishankar stresses regional benefits of Chabahar Port agreement

Amidst escalating tensions following US warnings of potential sanctions, India’s External Affairs Minister, Dr. S. Jaishankar, staunchly defended the 10-year agreement for operating the Chabahar Port in Iran. Emphasising the project’s regional benefits, he urged against a narrow perspective, citing past US acknowledgment of Chabahar’s significance.

Speaking at an interaction in Kolkata after the launch of the Bangla edition of his book ‘Why Bharat Matters,’ Dr. Jaishankar addressed concerns raised by the US, highlighting the need for communication and understanding. He pointed out the US’s prior appreciation of Chabahar’s broader relevance, indicating India’s commitment to addressing any reservations.

The US had issued warnings on Tuesday, cautioning against business dealings with Tehran due to ongoing sanctions. Despite this, India proceeded with the signing of a long-term bilateral contract between Indian Ports Global Limited (IPGL) and Iran’s Port & Maritime Organisation (PMO) for operating Shahid-Behesti port within the Chabahar Port Development Project.

Dr. Jaishankar underscored India’s enduring involvement with Chabahar, despite previous challenges in formalising a long-term agreement. He noted the resolution of issues, culminating in the signing of the pact, deemed essential for enhancing port operations and benefiting the entire region.

The Chabahar Port, a flagship India-Iran initiative, serves as a vital transit hub for trade with landlocked Afghanistan and Central Asian nations. India’s significant investments in infrastructure development underscore its commitment to leveraging Chabahar’s strategic location for facilitating smoother trade routes and bolstering regional connectivity.

India’s proactive role in the Chabahar Port project aligns with its broader strategic interests in the region, particularly in countering Chinese influence and ensuring unhindered access to Central Asian markets. By strengthening ties with Iran and Afghanistan through infrastructure development, India aims to expand its economic footprint and foster regional stability.

Despite external pressures and geopolitical complexities, India remains steadfast in its commitment to advancing the Chabahar Port project, recognising its pivotal role in shaping regional dynamics and enhancing economic opportunities for all stakeholders involved.