Chabahar Port

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India recently signed a 10-year agreement with Iran to develop and manage the Chabahar port, marking a pivotal development in bilateral ties between the two nations.

Why in News?

  • The long-term agreement, to be valid for 10 years and extended subsequently, was being negotiated by the two sides over the past three years and had been held up over differences on a clause related to arbitration.
  • It replaces an initial pact inked in 2016 that covered India’s operations at the Shahid Beheshti terminal of Chabahar port and has been renewed annually.
  • India Ports Global Chabahar Free Zone (IPGCFZ), a subsidiary of state-run India Global Ports Limited (IGPL), currently operates the Shahid Beheshti terminal at Chabahar port.
  • This is the first time India will take over the management of an overseas port.

About Chabahar Port:

  • It is a deep-water port located in Iran’s Sistan-Baluchistan province.
  • It is on the Gulf of Oman at the mouth of the Strait of Hormuz.
  • It is the only Iranian port having direct access to the Indian Ocean.
  • It consists oftwo separate ports called Shahid Beheshti and Shahid Kalantari.
  • It's geographic proximity to countries such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India, as well as its status as a key transit center on the burgeoning International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC), gives it the potential to develop into one of the most important commercial hubs in the region.
    • INSTC is a multi-modal transportation route linking the Indian Ocean and the Persian Gulfto the Caspian Sea via Iran, and onward to northern Europe via Saint Petersburg in Russia.
  • Kandla port in Gujarat is 550 Nautical Miles from Chabahar port, while the distance between Chabahar and Mumbai is 786 Nautical Miles.
  • Chabahar Project:
    • In May 2016, India signed a tripartite agreement with Iran and Afghanistan to develop the Shahid Beheshti Terminal at Chabahar.
    • It is India's first foreign port project.
    • The deal agreement aims to establish an international transport and transit corridor in Chabahar. 
    • The construction of the Chabahar Port and the construction of a rail line from Chabahar Port to Zahedan are the major highlights of this project.
    • The idea was that the port would enable India to bypass Pakistan and access Afghanistan, and ultimately Central Asia.
    • Moreover, the port could serve as a hub for transit trade between India, Iran, and Afghanistan and provide an alternative route to the traditional Silk Road that passes through China.

Q1: Which countries border the Gulf of Oman?

The Gulf of Oman or Sea of Oman, also known as the Gulf of Makran or Sea of Makran, forms the only entrance to the Persian Gulf from the Indian Ocean. It is bordered by Pakistan and Iran in the north, by the United Arab Emirates in the west and by Oman in the south.

Source: India signs 10-year deal with Iran to manage Chabahar port