By MarEx 2017-12-03 15:47:04
Iran officially opened a $ 1 billion extension of its port of Chabahar in the Gulf of Oman on Sunday.
The nation anticipates that it will become a key transit route to Afghanistan without exit to the sea and central Asia and will allow more Indian products to be exported to Russia.
The expansion, with an investment of $ 235 from India, has increased the port's capacity from 2.5 million to 8.5 million tons per year. India has committed $ 500 million to build two berths in the port and $ 1.6 billion for a 650 kilometer rail link that will run from Chabahar to Zahedan and to Afghanistan. In October, India sent a first shipment of wheat to Afghanistan through Chabahar.
The port is seen as a rival to Pakistan's Gwadar port, some 80 kilometers away, which is being developed with Chinese help as part of China's Belt and Road Initiative. Speaking at the event, however, the Iranian president said regional rivalries should give way to "more commitment and unity" in the region. "We should pursue positive competition … We welcome other ports in the region, we welcome the development of Gwadar."
Next to the ceremony, Indian, Afghan and Iranian officials held a trilateral meeting to discuss the implementation of the trade and transit agreement announced in May 2016. The ministers decided to finalize the protocols related to transport and transit, the ports , customs procedures and consular matters.