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SOURCE: ANI

A day after the US warned of “potential risk of sanctions” after India inked a 10-year agreement for running the Chabahar Port in Iran, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar emphasised that the project will benefit the entire region and people should not take a “narrow view” of it.

He also pointed out that the US itself had appreciated the larger relevance of Chabahar in the past. The EAM was speaking at an interaction after the launch of the Bangla edition of his book ‘Why Bharat Matters’ in Kolkata on Wednesday.

On being asked about the US’ remarks, Mr Jaishankar said, “I did see some of the remarks which were made, but I think it’s a question of communicating, convincing and getting people to understand, that this is actually for everyone’s benefit. I don’t think people should take a narrow view of it.”

“They (US) have not done so in the past. So, if you look at the US’ own attitude towards the port in Chabahar, the US has been appreciative of the fact that Chabahar has a larger relevance…we will work at it,” he added.

Earlier on Tuesday, the United States warned that “anyone” considering business deals with Tehran needs to be aware of the “potential risk of sanctions.”

“I would just say…US sanctions on Iran remain in place and we will continue to enforce them,” the US State Department Principal Deputy Spokesperson, Vedant Patel said at the press briefing.

“Any entity, anyone considering business deals with Iran, they need to be aware of the potential risk they are opening themselves up to, potential risk of sanctions,” he added.

The Long-Term Bilateral Contract on Chabahar Port Operation was signed between Indian Ports Global Limited (IPGL) of India and the Port & Maritime Organisation (PMO) of Iran on Monday, enabling the operation of Shahid-Behesti port in the Chabahar Port Development Project for a period of 10 years.

Mr Jaishankar further said that India had a long association with the project, but was not able to sign a long-term pact, which was important. He added that New Delhi was able to sort out the issues and sign the long-term agreement, which will benefit the entire region.

“We have had a long association with the Chabahar Port, but we could never sign a long-term agreement. The reason was…there were various problems on the Iranian end…the joint-venture partner changes, the condition changed,” the Foreign Minister said.

He added, “Finally, we were able to sort this out and we were able to get the long-term agreement done. The long-term agreement is necessary, because without it you cannot really improve the port operation. And the port operation we believe, will benefit the entire region.”

The Chabahar Port is an India-Iran flagship project that serves as an important transit port for trade with Afghanistan and Central Asian countries, which are landlocked countries. India has been a key player in the development and operation of Chabahar Port.

The Indian government has invested in the port’s infrastructure and has been involved in upgrading its facilities to make it a viable transit route for Indian goods bound for Afghanistan and Central Asia.