Iran, India, Afghanistan to celebrate Chabahar Day on 26 February

The port is Iran’s only exit way to international waters passing through the Sea of Oman. New Delhi has rapidly been developing the strategic port in a bid to export its commodities to Afghanistan bypassing Pakistan.

16 February 2019
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India and Iran will celebrate ‘Chabahar Day’ on February 26 at a mega event in Iran’s strategically located port, which is operated by India. The jointly organised event will showcase business potential of the port and the proposed economic zone that present a stark contrast to Pakistan’s Gwadar Port, which China hopes to build as a military facility, India Times reports.  

A senior Indian official will lead a high-powered delegation comprising business delegates, among others, at the day-long event which will also see participation of Afghanistan, Central Asia and Russia. Iran will make a presentation on the prospects of the port to the visiting delegates. 

Iran is pitching the event as an opportunity for businessmen, traders, freight companies, and national and international liners from various countries, said an Iranian official. One of the main goals is enabling entry of large international shipping liners into the port, he said. The port, India’s key link to Afghanistan and Eurasia, became operational for transit to Kabul following a tripartite agreement between India, Afghanistan and Iran. India Ports Global Limited, which is operating the Shahid Beheshti terminal, opened an office in the port in December last year. 

On December 24, 2018, India, Iran and Afghanistan jointly inaugurated the office of the Indian special purpose vehicle – India Ports Global Chabahar Free Zone (IPGCFZ) – in the port. The physical takeover of the terminal area, cargo handling equipment and office building was completed five days later. 

Commercial operations began at IPGCFZ with the arrival of a Cyprus registered bulk carrier with 72,458 MT of corn cargo

Cyprus-flagged bulk carrier Macheras docked at Chabahar Port. (Photo: India Shipping Ministry)

India is also developing a 500-km-long Chabahar-Zahedan railway link that will connect Afghanistan’s Zaranj-Delaram road and bring Iran and Afghanistan closer. 

The Chabahar port is a key pillar of India’s Indo-Pacific strategy that also connects Eurasia with the Indian Ocean Region, according to experts.

Early February, three Indian ports were connected to Iran's Chabahar and Shahid Beheshti Port in Bandar Abbas in the Persian Gulf after the first large container ship made its way to the Iranian port located on the northern coast of the Sea of Oman. 

Moreover, Container Corporation of India (CONCOR) and Russian Railways Logistics Joint Stock Company (RZD) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in a bid to increase goods transit via the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSCT), main part of which passes through Iran. Chabahar Port is the starting point for the transit of Indian goods to Central Asia, Russia and Europe.