|Indian groups such as Adani and JM Baxi could be among the interested players in the development of the Chabahar port in south-eastern Iran.|
With Iran having clinched a nuclear deal with Western powers, the Modi government has begun fast tracking the development of the Chabahar port (in picture). The concession agreement for the port would be signed soon, opening doors for the Indian groups.
A senior Shipping Ministry official told BusinessLine that the signing of the agreement was imminent, and would provide the Indian Government a 10-year concession to operate the port. The portís management could then be subcontracted to private Indian players. Large Indian corporate houses, including Adani, have shown interest in the project, the official said.
Chabahar port has been in the development since since the 1980s but its development gained momentum after former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee visited Iran in 2001. In May 2015, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari and his Iranian counterpart for developing Chabahar.
The official said that in the initial phase a joint venture of Jawaharlal Nehru Port and Kandla Port will operate a container and bulk terminal at Chabahar. After operations stabilise, a private player could be brought in for further development. Today, the port handles two million tonnes of cargo, which can be scaled up to 6 million tonnes.
Currently, all Indian aid to Afghanistan goes through the Karachi port, but with Chabahar operational, the goods can be transported through the port, using Iranís roads and the Zaranj-Delaram road in Afghanistan, which was constructed by India in 2009, the official added.
He said the governments of Iran and India were also planning a large rail network, which will connect Chabahar with Iranian ports on the Caspian Sea and provide infrastructure opportunities for Indian companies. Indiaís strategy is to bring container cargo from the Central Asian countries to Iranís ports located by the Caspian Sea and then transport them by rail to Chabahar. This would reduce transit time by about eight days, the official said.