India is making strategic moves to pave the way for a long-term contract related to Chabahar port in Iran. Simultaneously, there are plans to ramp up investments in the Shahid Beheshti terminal at the port. This development indicates India’s commitment to bolstering its presence and influence in the strategically located Chabahar port.
Sources familiar with the discussions have revealed that India is considering a 10-year contract that can be automatically renewed. Importantly, the contentious foreign arbitration clause, which had been a stumbling block in the contract negotiations, is likely to be dropped. Instead, arbitration would potentially be conducted under the rules established by the UN Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), a favored mechanism by India for resolving international trade disputes.
To expedite these negotiations, Indian officials are expected to visit Chabahar in the coming weeks to finalize the details of the long-term contract. Iran’s recent accession to BRICS is seen as a move that could facilitate the ongoing negotiations.
Among the issues to be discussed is the guarantee of minimum traffic at Chabahar port. This component is crucial for ensuring the economic viability of the port and its role as a key transit point for India’s trade with Afghanistan and other Central Asian countries.
Chabahar port holds a special place in India’s strategic interests as it represents India’s first overseas port project. The long-term agreement under consideration will replace the current yearly renewal of an initial pact that covers India’s operations at the Shahid Beheshti terminal within Chabahar port.
An Indian official involved in the discussions emphasized that the deliberations are in progress, and efforts are being made to resolve issues and conclude negotiations as swiftly as possible. This underscores India’s keenness to solidify its presence in Chabahar and maximize its potential as a gateway for trade and connectivity with the wider Central Asian region.
In recent reports from Iranian media, India’s readiness to finalize documents for the project’s completion was highlighted. Iran’s Ports and Maritime Organization (PMO) Chief Executive indicated that only one paragraph of the agreement remained unsettled, a matter expected to be resolved within a month.