India Expands Maritime Reach: Secures Another Overseas Port, after Chabahar, in Myanmar

India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has given the green light to India Ports Global (IPGL) to oversee operations at Sittwe Port, nestled along the Kaladan River. This decision marks a significant stride in India’s maritime strategy considering that IPGL already manages container terminals at Chabahar Port, Iran.

IPGL is a collaborative effort between Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) and Deendayal Port Trust, and will be spearheading this initiative. Established under the Companies Act, 2013, IPGL aims to develop overseas ports as directed by the Ministry of Shipping (MoS).

The strategic Sittwe Port has been funded and developed by India and is located at the Kaladan River estuary on the Arakan coast of Myanmar’s Rakhine state.

In the Indian Ocean, China and India are engaged in a struggle to expand their economic influence, and ports have become highly significant in this rivalry. Considering this, the Sittwe Port serves as a linchpin in the Kaladan multi-modal transit project, linking Kolkata’s seaport with Myanmar’s Sittwe seaport via sea routes and extending connectivity to Mizoram’s Zorinpui via road networks, facilitating smoother trade and reducing dependence on conventional routes.

This strategic link not only opens new avenues for trade to India’s northeastern states but also slashes transportation costs and distances, offering a viable alternative to the congested Siliguri Corridor. The port will boost the economic development of NE states under the Act East Policy of the Government of India. Its operationalization is also expected to reduce the cost and time of transportation of goods from Kolkata to Agartala and Aizwal by 50%.

The inauguration of Sittwe Port last May, attended by Union Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and Myanmar’s Deputy Prime Minister Admiral Tin Aung San, marked the commencement of this promising venture, heralding a new era in Indo-Myanmar maritime relations.

Also Read: Myanmar’s Rakhine state conflict puts Sittwe Port developed by India in jeopardy

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