India has not quit Chabahar project under US pressure, Iran says

Business Materials 11 July 2018 17:24 (UTC +04:00)

Sari, Iran, July 11

By Kamyar Eghbalnejad, A. Shirazi - Trend:

CEO of Ports and Maritime Organization of Iran Mohammad Rastad rejected reports that the state-owned Indian company India Ports Global Limited (IPGL), which is developing the port of Chabahar, has quit the project under the US pressure.

“Based on our latest consultations with New Delhi, IPGL and an Indian bank have reached an agreement over contractual guarantee period,” Rastad said on July 11.

He made the remarks on the sidelines of the International Congress of Development of Exports from the Caspian Sea, which has kicked off in Sari, Mazandaran province, aimed at discussing challenges and opportunities facing exports from Iran’s northern ports, Trend's correspondent reported from the event.

He further dismissed reports that the IPGL has quit the project due to the threat of new US sanctions, and said, “IPGL is expected to get the Chabahar port started in less than a month”.

Chabahar provides India with an easier land-sea route to Afghanistan. In November, India sent its first cargo of wheat to Afghanistan through Chabahar in what appeared to be a run dry of a multi-modal connectivity route.

The cargo was shipped from India’s western port of Kandla, unloaded at Chabahar and eventually taken to Afghanistan’s Nimroz province by trucks.

A rail link between Chabahar and Zahedan and thereon to Afghanistan is a crucial part of India’s ambitious extra-regional connectivity ambitions over which Tehran, New Delhi and Kabul have signed a basic agreement.

Elsewhere in the interview, Rastad called on the Caspian Sea littoral states to set up a joint consortium to facilitate and boost transportation of goods among the nations.

He added that consortium can revolutionize regional transport of freight.

Five countries have coastlines along the Caspian Sea: Iran, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, and Russia.

The two-day congress of Development of Exports from the Caspian Sea focuses on six topics including the role of ports and quality of service, rules and regulations of ports and their roles in increase or decrease of exports, the political status of Russia and the West, investment in northern ports and sustainable development.

Experts from around 19 countries including Iraq and Afghanistan are taking part in the congress.