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    “India and Iran Set to Sign Landmark 10-Year Agreement for Chabahar Port Operations”


    India and Iran Set to Ink 10-Year Agreement for Chabahar Port Operations

    India and Iran are on the brink of finalizing a significant 10-year agreement for India’s operations at the strategically vital Chabahar port. The agreement, slated to automatically extend after its initial term, marks a milestone after three years of negotiations, primarily stalled due to differences over an arbitration clause.

    Sarbananda Sonowal, the Ports and Shipping Minister, embarked on a journey to Iran specifically for the signing of this pivotal long-term agreement. His visit underscores India’s deep-rooted interest in Chabahar port, a linchpin in fostering enhanced connectivity with Iran, Afghanistan, and the landlocked Central Asian nations.

    The long-term pact supersedes the initial 2016 agreement, which annually renewed India’s operations at the Shahid Beheshti terminal within Chabahar port. This forthcoming agreement is expected to be inked during Sonowal’s visit, as confirmed by insiders privy to the latest developments in Tehran.

    India’s engagement with Chabahar port aligns with broader regional strategies, notably the International North–South Transport Corridor (INSTC), aimed at facilitating shipping routes that bypass the congested Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz.

    This agreement gains additional significance amidst China’s growing investment interest in Iranian ports and coastal infrastructure, with Tehran urging Beijing to partake in the development of other terminals at Chabahar port.

    The complexity of the negotiations was evident in the need to resolve jurisdictional issues related to arbitration. Under Iran’s legal framework, foreign court arbitration is precluded, necessitating a constitutional amendment for international arbitration. The resolution of this critical hurdle paves the way for the impending agreement.

    Since India Global Ports Limited (IGPL) commenced operations at Shahid Beheshti terminal in 2018, it has overseen the handling of over 4.8 million tonnes of bulk cargo, including trans-shipments from various global locations.

    India’s commitment to Chabahar’s development is evident in its investments, including supplying cranes and equipment worth $24 million as part of an $85 million investment pledge.

    While Afghanistan’s role in the Chabahar arrangements has evolved following recent geopolitical shifts, India’s dedication to leveraging Chabahar’s potential for regional connectivity remains unwavering.

    Sources By Agencies

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