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SOURCE: PTI

Iran is looking at some investments from India in Chabahar region post a long-term deal on the Chabahar Port operations, a top Iranian diplomat has said.

Talking to PTI, Davoud Rezaei Eskandari, Acting Consul General of Iran in Mumbai, also said that the Chabahar Port deal could be a turning point for its ”most relations” with India. India on May 13 signed a 10-year contract to operate the strategic Iranian port of Chabahar that will help it expand trade with Central Asia.

The long-term agreement was signed between Indian Ports Global Limited (IPGL) and the Port & Maritime Organisation of Iran. It replaces an initial 2016 pact, which covered India’s operations at Shahid Beheshti Terminal in Chabahar Port and had been renewed on an annual basis.

”We believe that Chabahar Port is strategically important for India and Iran and it’s also a very important port for both countries from different point of views,” Eskandari said.

The Chabahar Port contract is ”very important, of course for Iran (as well). We are looking for some investment in the Chabahar area. So we can expect some investment in this area,” he stated.

”And we believe that India also have good maritime technology for managing the port considering its sea power. From this point (also), we believe that it would also be good for Iran,” he said.

”We are seeing some new momentum in our relations… I can see that it could be a turning point for our most relations… it (Chabahar Port contract) can become a historical point for India and also for Iran in our contemporary relations,” Eskandari said.

He said that during the last decades, ”may be we can say that different corridors, rival corridors (have) been imposed from different countries being supported by China, from countries of different point of view”.

But this North-South corridor was first initiated by India, Iran and Russia, he said, adding that it can give direct access to India, to Afghanistan and to all landlocked central Asian countries.

The Chabahar Port on the Gulf of Oman will provide Indian goods a gateway to reach landlocked Afghanistan and Central Asia using a road and rail project called International North-South Transport Corridor, bypassing Pakistan.

”So this would be the best way to connect them to India, which may not have that much access through other ways. This would be the best, easiest, fastest and the cheapest way and also when you’re taking note of the access to Russia,” he said.

It is also very important for trade considering what is happening in the Red Sea, in the Suez Canal and other places, he said and added that ”from this point of view, the trade through the North-South Corridor is also very safe and there are no security concerns.” He said that diversification of the supply chain is an issue that almost all major powers are looking at.

”They are not going to depend only on the traditional way (trade routes). They are trying some new ways to diversify and not to depend especially on one way and one corridor… if one country is relying only on one route strategically, it’s really in danger (in terms of) economic and trade interest.

”So from this point it will diversify India’s access to the supply chain,” he said.

Stating that the Chabahar Port deal is not only important for India, he said if India can develop the facility and manage it, it would also be an important point for all South Asian countries and even ASEAN.

”They can, through this port and this corridor that is going to be managed by India, can get access to this trade route and through this route to Russia,” he said.