Iran, India eyeing improved economic ties
Governor of the Central Bank of Iran Valiollah Seif and a number of Indian economic and trade officials reviewed ways of expanding mutual economic and commercial cooperation.
Seif arrived in India for talks with the country's officials on mutual commercial cooperation. Value of Iran-India trade stood at $41.62 billion in the first five months of the year.
Earlier this month, India announced plans to sign an agreement with Iran for the development of the port and New Delhi intends to lease two berths at Chabahar for 10 years. India will float a company to develop Iran's Chabahar Port, a government statement said, as New Delhi aims to take advantage of a thaw in Tehran's relations with the world powers.
The port of Chabahar in Southeast Iran is central to India's efforts to circumvent Pakistan and open up a route to landlocked Afghanistan where it has developed close security ties and economic interests.
The planned Indian company will invest $85.21mln in one year to convert the berths into a container terminal and a multi-purpose cargo terminal, the statement said, adding India would consider the participation of Iranian firms if needed.
The Port of Chabahar lies on the border of the Indian Ocean and the Sea of Oman. It is the only Iranian port with direct access to ocean. The port was partially built by India in the 1990s to provide access to Afghanistan and Central Asia, bypassing Pakistan.
Iran's Chabahar port, which is located 72 kilometers West of Pakistan's Gwadar port, holds immense strategic and economic significance for India. Chabahar and Gwadar ports are located in a common coast and they are 70 kilometers away from one another. ■