India says Chabahar deal coming in weeks

Indian officials say New Delhi will finalize a much-awaited deal with Tehran within the next few weeks over the development of Iran’s strategic Chabahar port.

India’s Economic Times newspaper has quoted the country’s Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari as saying that Tehran and New Delhi are currently trying to iron out irritants and conclude the Chabahar deal by January.

An Indian team was in Tehran this week to discuss contract of the project, the newspaper added emphasizing that officials from both sides are negotiating the terms of the contract.

Based on a preliminary agreement signed between the two countries last May, India will invest $85 million over the construction of two berths at Chabahar port which is located in Iran’s southeastern Sistan-and-Baluchestan province.

India’s media reported earlier that New Delhi will take a decision on Iran’s latest offer in October after obtaining reports from other ministries including petroleum, chemical and fertilizer, and steel.

In late October, Mohammad Saeed-Nejad, the managing director of Iran’s Ports and Maritime Organization (PMO), said that the deadline for India to decide over investing in a key project to develop Chabahar port is way over and New Delhi has not yet informed Tehran about its final decision.

“I think the [grace] period [for India] is over,” said Saeed-Nejad. “However, the related contract with the Indian side has not been drafted as of yet,” he told Iran’s local media.

The official emphasized that India will not be involved in any construction activity in Chabahar, adding that it was only to provide dock equipment at the key port.

Chabahar is the closest and best access point of Iran to the Indian Ocean and Iran has devised serious plans to turn into a transit hub for immediate access to markets in the northern part of the Indian Ocean and Central Asia.

By Press TV