India to invest $500 million in the port-deal carving closeness to Iran and Afghanistan


New Delhi. India has won over the major milestone of Chabahar port as India and Iran signed a landmark pact on Monday, while PM Modi visits to the oil-rich country. India will be investing $500 million to develop the strategically located Chabahar port in Iran that will give easy access to trade with Afghanistan and Europe sidestepping Pakistan.

Besides the bilateral pact to develop the Chabahar port, a trilateral Agreement on Transport and Transit Corridor was also signed by India, Afghanistan and Iran, which Prime Minister Narendra Modi said could "alter the course of the history of the region".

Underlining that the agreement was part of the endeavor to "carve out new routes for peace and prosperity" in the region, the Prime Minister expressed confidence that the corridor will "spur unhindered" economic growth and help stop radicalization of the youth by providing job opportunities.

The bilateral contracts signed by India and Iran after detailed discussions between Modi and President Hassan Rouhani  also included setting up of an aluminum plant and another to laying a railway line to give India access to Afghanistan and Central Asia.

As Modi became the first Indian prime minister to visit Iran in 15 years, the several agreements aimed at deepening India-Iran ties in diverse fields, covered areas of economy, trade, transportation, port development, culture, science and academic cooperation.

Earlier, the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had visited the country in April 2001.

The two countries noted with deep concern that terrorism and ideologies of violent extremism "continue to infest and ingress" the region and agreed to enhance regular consultations between National Security Councils and others concerned on terrorism, security and related issues such as organized crime, money-laundering, narcotics trade and cyber-crime, said a India-Iran Joint Statement issued later.

The key agreement signed was a contract for development of Phase I of the Chabahar port on the southern coast of Iran by an Indian joint venture. Chabahar port, located in the Sistan-Balochistan Province on the energy-rich Persian Gulf nation's southern coast, lies outside the Persian Gulf and is easily accessed from India's western coast, bypassing Pakistan.