The Shahid Beheshti terminal at Chabahar port in Iran is India's first overseas port project
India and Iran have signed a Long-term Main Contract for the development of the Shahid Beheshti Port Terminal in Chabahar, marking an important step towards enhancing regional connectivity. 

The contract, under which India will construct and operate the strategic port for a period of 10 years, was signed between India Port Global Limited (IPGL) and Ports and Maritime Organization (PMO) of Iran on Monday (May 13, 2024). 

The development of the Chabahar Port Project is an India-Iran flagship project. The Shahid Beheshti Terminal at Chabahar Port in Iran is India's first overseas port project and has the potential to become the gateway for Indian trade with Iran, Afghanistan, Europe, Russia & Central Asian countries.

Union Minister of Shipping, Ports and Waterways Sarbananda Sonowal witnessed the signing of the agreement. He also handed over a letter from External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, committing the INR equivalent of USD 250 million for Chabahar-related development. 

"With the signature of this contract, we have laid the foundations of India’s long-term involvement at Chabahar," Sonowal said. 

The Chabahar Port located on Iran's south-western coast has easy access to India's west coast. It also forms a crucial link in the International North-South Transport Corridor. The long-term contract will give a significant boost to economic activities and establish India's growing role in developing global trade and commerce, Sonowal said in a post on social media platform X, formerly Twitter. 

Minister Sonowal held fruitful bilateral meeting with his counterpart Mehrdad Bazrpash, Minister of Roads and Urban Development of Iran. The ministers recalled the common vision of their leaders to further strengthen bilateral cooperation in connectivity initiatives and in making Chabahar Port a regional connectivity hub.

The ministerial visit and signing of the Long-term Contract will further strengthen ties between the two nations and highlights the importance of Chabahar as a gateway for trade with Afghanistan and broader Central Asian countries, said India's Ministry of Shipping, Ports and Waterways.

Regional Connectivity a Critical Pillar of India-Iran Relations

India had reiterated its commitment to the development of the port during External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar's visit to Iran in January this year. 

Speaking after meeting Iranian Foreign Minister H Amir-Abdollahian in Tehran on January 15, 2024, EAM Jaishankar said, “Regional connectivity has been a critical pillar of India-Iran relations, and was naturally prominent in the agenda of today's discussions. I reiterated India's interest in benefiting from Iran's unique geographical position to access markets in Central Asia, Afghanistan and Eurasia. We discussed the prospects of energising the International North South Transport Corridor”.

Elaborating on this in his Joint Press Statement with the Iranian Foreign Minister, he said they discussed India's involvement in the development and operation of the Chabahar port and described it as “a joint project with a joint vision of connectivity”. 

EAM Jaishankar emphasised India's commitment to this project, and discussed how the two sides could establish a firm, sustainable and long-term roadmap, for India's continued involvement over the coming years.

The Trilateral Agreement (Chabahar Agreement) to build the International Transport and Transit Corridor was signed by India, Iran, and Afghanistan during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Iran in May 2016.