Foreign Policy Watch: India-Iran

India, Iran sign 10-year contract for Chabahar Port Operation


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Chabahar Port, Persian Gulf Mapping

Mains level: NA

Why in the news?

  • India and Iran signed a 10-year agreement for the operation of the Chabahar port, marking a significant milestone in their cooperation.

Back2Basics: Chabahar Port

  • The port is located in southeastern Iran in the Sistan-Baluchistan province, on the Gulf of Oman and at the mouth of the Strait of Hormuz.
  • It is called the “Golden Gate” to Central Asian land-locked countries of Afghanistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
  • It serves as Iran’s only oceanic port and consists of two separate ports named Shahid Kalantari and Shahid Beheshti.
  • It is only about 170 km west of the Gwadar port if Pakistan.
    • The development of Chabahar port was initiated by India with a MoU in 2015 and executed in 2016 during PM Narendra Modi’s visit to Iran.

About the Agreement

The contract, signed between Indian Ports Global Ltd. (IPGL) and Port and Maritime Organisation (PMO) of Iran, involves substantial investment and development initiatives.

  • IPGL will invest approximately $120 million in equipping the Shahid-Behesti terminal, enhancing the port’s efficiency and capacity.
  • India has extended a credit window of $250 million for mutually identified projects aimed at improving Chabahar-related infrastructure, emphasizing its commitment to regional development.

Strategic Importance of Chabahar Port to India

  • Chabahar port will boost India’s access to Iran, the key gateway to the International North-South Transport Corridor that has sea, rail and road routes between India, Russia, Iran, Europe and Central Asia.
  • Chabahar port will be beneficial to India in countering Chinese presence in the Arabian Sea which China is trying to ensure by helping Pakistan develop the Gwadar port.
  • India can bypass Pakistan in transporting goods to Afghanistan.

Economic Significance

  • Chabahar Port is at an important point on the Arabian Sea, with easy access from India’s west coast.
  • Kandla port in Gujarat is the closest port at 550 nautical miles, while the distance between Chabahar and Mumbai is 786 nautical miles.
  • Since 2019, the port has handled more than 80,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) of container traffic and more than 8 million tonnes of bulk and general cargo.
  • The port also offers an alternative route from the Strait of Hormuz for cargo traffic between Central Asian countries and Afghanistan.


[2017] What is the importance of developing Chabahar Port by India?

(a) India’s trade with African countries will enormously increase.

(b) India’s relations with oil-producing Arab countries will be strengthened.

(c) India will not depend on Pakistan to access Afghanistan and Central Asia.

(d) Pakistan will facilitate and protect the gas pipeline installation between Iraq and India.

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