Chabahar port should be seen in the context of the “strategic partnership” between India and Iran and cooperation on the project is based on three criteria – construction of the port, its connection to Iran’s rail network, and a request to the Indian side to route more cargo through the port, Iranian ambassador to India Iraj Elahi told newspersons in Delhi..
Iran believes that Chabahar port is not just an economic issue. There is a need to view the Port project as a strategic engagement and not just as an economic partnership Mr Elahi said.
For India Chabahar Port is important… For Iran too it is important. But Iran has different ports in all parts of the Persian Gulf for transit, import and export of cargo. But Chabahar is an Oceanic Port and close to the Indian Ocean and closest to the route to Afghanistan. Hence there is a need to look at Chabahar port beyond economic perspectives. Because of this importance, the speed of cooperation, the speed of progress and the speed of promotion in Chabahar Port should be faster than what it is now. It is important for both India and Iran and for our mutual benefit he said
(The Iranian ambassador’s assertion should be seen in the context of slow progress in the development of terminals India had taken on lease at the Chabahar Port due to sanctions by United States on Iranian entities).
Iran roped in India for developing the port as it lacked funds for infrastructure projects because of Western sanctions. “We expected India to send its cargo through Chabahar and second to help us to train Iranians on how to expand our ports,” he said.
Iran and India also have similar concerns about Afghanistan, especially the threat emanating from the trafficking of drugs and weapons. A mix of pressure, negotiations and encouragement should be used by countries in the region to get the Taliban to put in place a comprehensive and multi-ethnic government in Afghanistan, he said.