After Iran’s SCO membership, we can make the most of Chabahar port: Prime Minister Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi remarked at the 23rd Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Summit that after Iran’s membership in the SCO, SCO members can work towards maximizing the use of Chabahar Port, the bureau’s official press release said of the prime minister.

“The North-South International Transport Corridor can serve as a safe and efficient route for landlocked countries in Central Asia to access the Indian Ocean. We should strive to realize its full potential,” the press release said.

He also mentioned the importance of better connectivity. “Strong connectivity is critical to the progress of any region. Better connectivity not only encourages mutual trade, but also encourages mutual trust. However, in these efforts, it is important to uphold the core principles of the SCO Charter, particularly respecting the sovereignty and regional integrity of member states,” the press release said.

Chabahar Port is a seaport in Iran’s Sistan-Balochistan province on the Gulf of Oman. It serves as Iran’s only ocean port and consists of two separate ports named Shahid Kalantari and Shahid Beheshti.

Its geographical proximity to Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) gives it the potential to become one of the most important trading hubs.

The Chabahar Port Project is one of India’s priority projects. India signed an $85 million Chabahar Accord to establish the International Transport and Transit Corridor in May 2016. The construction of Chabahar Port and the construction of a railway line from Chabahar Port to Zahedan are the main highlights of the project.

Through the Chabahar Port Project, the cargo would be brought to the ports of Bandar Abbas and Chabahar, freeing Kabul from its dependence on Pakistan. Chabahar Port will provide India with access to Afghanistan via the 7,200km North-South Multimodal Transport Corridor (INSTC) and beyond to Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Russia and Europe.

One of the key projects of great interest to India and Iran was the connection of Chabahar port with Zaranj-Delaram highway in Afghanistan. The Zaranj-Delaram Highway in Afghanistan is a 215 km highway that has already been built with the support of India.

In addition, the Chabahar port project offers an option for an alternative supply route for goods, thus reducing Pakistan’s importance, which until recently was the only option available.

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