TEHRAN (TCA) — Iran is ready to hand over its strategic Chabahar Port to an Indian company within one month for operations according to the terms of the interim agreement signed by the two countries, Iran’s minister of roads and urban development, Abbas Akhoundi, announced in New Delhi following a meeting with his Indian counterpart, Nitin Gadkari, Sputnik news agency reported.
“Now we are ready just to hand over the Chabahar Port to the Indian company to operate,” Abbas Akhoundi told the media.
The Chabahar Port in Iran would provide a gateway for trade by India, Iran and Afghanistan with Central Asian countries. The port is also considered India’s answer to China’s involvement in Pakistan’s Gwadar Port.
Abbas Akhoundi also said that Iran’s Central Bank has approved the banking channel introduced by India to ease trade and investment.
Akhoundi also stressed strengthening of India-Iran cooperation amid reports of US intervention in India’s oil imports from Iran.
“India and Iran’s relationship is essential for the region and we are looking at ways to work together. The US is an outsider in the region, so the insiders should come together and continue their friendship,” the Iranian minister was quoted by the ANI as saying.
The Chabahar Port in Iran’s Sistan-Balochistan province in the energy-rich nation’s southern coast is easily accessible from India’s western coast and is increasingly seen as a counter to Pakistan’s Gwadar Port, located at a distance of around 80 km from Chabahar.