Tehran: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Sunday inaugurated a newly-built extension of the country’s strategic Chahbahar Port, opening up a transit route between Iran, Afghanistan and India that bypasses Pakistan, Tolo News reported.
The development of the Shahid Beheshti port, a $340 million project, is being seen as a reinforcement of mutual and regional cooperation between Iran and India, according to the India Times.
It was inaugurated in the presence of dignitaries from India, Afghanistan, Qatar and Pakistan.
A day earlier, Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj held a meeting with her Iranian counterpart, Javed Zarif, in Tehran to review the implementation of the Chabahar Port, India Times said.
India, Afghanistan, and Iran last year decided to jointly establish a trade route for land-locked Central Asian countries. India committed up to $500 million for the development of the Chahabar Port along with associated roads and rail lines.
The inking of the port deal had caused tensions between Tehran and Islamabad at the time. However, Iran has assured Pakistan that Chabahar is not being developed to rival Gwadar, which is itself currently being developed under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.
Pakistan currently does not allow India to transport goods through its territory to Afghanistan because of hostility in their ties. Chabahar provides India an easier land-sea route to Afghanistan. (Agencies)