Tehran, Iran, May 25
By Mehdi Sepahvand - Trend:
Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari said that the insecure Gwadar port in Pakistan offers a good opportunity for Iran to develop its Chabahar port into a transit hub to Central Asia.
Sayyari said Iran's coastline, which comprise one third of the country's borders, offer a unique opportunity for the country to expand its maritime trade, IRNA news agency reported May 25.
He cautioned that Iran's most prominent coastline between Bandar Abbas and Chabahar has shrunk in population, calling for more attention to those areas and similar places around the country.
Chabahar is our most important port in the area, which can link Iran to Central Asian countries and connect those countries to free waters, he stressed.
Chabahar, in Sistan and Baluchestan Province is a free port on the coast of the Gulf of Oman.
Chabahar is Iran's closest and best access point to the Indian Ocean. For this reason, the port is the focal point of Iranian development of the east of the country through expansion and enhancement of transit routes among countries situated in the northern part of the Indian Ocean and Central Asia.
Iran confirmed signing a memorandum of understanding with India to develop a strategic port in the Sea of Oman.
According to a May 11 report released by Iran Ministry of Roads and Urban Development's official website, the MoU to develop Chabahar port's two phases is worth $195 million.
India would invest $85 million and $110 million in the first and second phases respectively.
In the meantime, Iran has China as a rival that is investing heavily in Pakistan. China, in April, announced its $46 billion investment in Pakistan.
The important point in the agreement is establishing roads and railways from Gwadar near border areas to Kashgar town in northwest of China in one side and linking Gwadar in Pakistan to China's western Xinjiang region. On the other hand, China will have opportunity to connect directly through a 3000 km railroad to the Indian Ocean. China wants to invest about $3.69 billion in roads and $5.9 billion in railway projects in Pakistan.
Edited by CN
Follow the author on Twitter @mehdisepahvand