Jaishankar Asserts Benefits of Chabahar Port Deal a Day After US Warns of Sanctions

Logistics Insider reported yesterday about the U.S. warning of sanctions to India after it signed a deal with Iran for operating the Chabahar Port. A day after, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has reaffirmed India’s commitment to the Chabahar Port project, asserting the regional benefits of the 10-year agreement to operate the port. Speaking at an interaction in Kolkata today, Jaishankar emphasized the broader significance of the project for regional connectivity and urged against a narrow interpretation of its implications.

“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.”

S Jaishankar, Union Minister of External Affairs

Apart from addressing concerns raised by the US regarding the Chabahar Port deal, Jaishankar also highlighted the past acknowledgment by the US of the strategic importance of Chabahar, suggesting a precedent for cooperation rather than confrontation.

“The US has been appreciative of the fact that Chabahar has a larger relevance…we will work at it,” Jaishankar remarked, reaffirming India’s commitment to engaging constructively despite potential differences.

The remarks from the US came a day earlier, cautioning against business deals with Iran and underscoring the continuation of sanctions against it. “US sanctions on Iran remain in place, and we will continue to enforce them,” stated Vedant Patel, Principal Deputy Spokesperson of the US State Department.

The bilateral agreement for the operation of the Chabahar Port, signed between Indian Ports Global Limited (IPGL) and Iran’s Port & Maritime Organisation (PMO), extends the operational tenure of the Shahid-Behesti port within the Chabahar Port Development Project for a decade.

Jaishankar elaborated on India’s historical involvement in the Chabahar Port, citing previous obstacles related to joint-venture partnerships and evolving conditions on the Iranian side. “Finally, we were able to sort this out and we were able to get the long-term agreement done,” he stated, emphasizing the necessity of a long-term agreement to enhance port operations and facilitate regional trade.

The Chabahar Port project, a flagship endeavor between India and Iran, holds strategic importance as a vital transit hub for trade with landlocked Afghanistan and Central Asian nations. India’s active participation in the development and operation of Chabahar underscores its commitment to fostering regional connectivity and economic integration.

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