• Saturday, May 18, 2024

ASIA

US warns of ‘sanction risks’ as India inks Chabahar port deal with Iran

Despite facing delays due to US sanctions on Iran, India has persisted in its efforts to enhance the Chabahar port’s capabilities.

A picture taken on February 25, 2019 shows ships off the Shahid Beheshti Port in the southeastern Iranian coastal city of Chabahar. (Photo: Getty Images)

By: Vivek Mishra

INDIA and Iran sealed a 10-year agreement on Monday, solidifying their partnership in developing and managing the Chabahar port. The port, located in Iran’s southeastern region along the Gulf of Oman, has strategic importance for India as it provides a trade route to Afghanistan and Central Asian nations, bypassing Pakistan’s ports.

“Chabahar Port’s significance transcends its role as a mere conduit between India and Iran; it serves as a vital trade artery connecting India with Afghanistan and Central Asian Countries,” said India’s shipping minister Sarbananda Sonowal in Tehran.

Despite facing delays due to US sanctions on Iran, India has persisted in its efforts to enhance the port’s capabilities.

US State Department deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel, asked about the deal, told reporters that US sanctions on Iran remain in place and that anyone considering business deals with the country faces the potential risk of sanctions.

“Any entity, anyone considering business deals with Iran – they need to be aware of the potential risks that they are opening themselves up to and the potential risk of sanctions,” said Patel.

“We’re aware of these reports that Iran and India have signed a deal concerning the Chabahar port. I will let the government of India speak to its own foreign policy goals vis-a-vis the Chabahar port as well as its own bilateral relationship with Iran,” he told reporters.

The agreement, signed between Indian Ports Global Limited (IPGL) and Iran’s Port & Maritime Organisation, involves a substantial investment of around £293.65 million, with IPGL committing £95.24 million and securing an additional £198.41 million in financing.

Since assuming operations in late 2018, IPGL has overseen significant cargo traffic, handling over 90,000 TEUs of containers and more than 8.4 million tonnes of bulk and general cargo.

“It will clear the pathway for bigger investments to be made in the port,” said India’s foreign minister S Jaishankar.

(Reuters)

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