India secures 10-year concession at Iranian port

India’s shipping minister, Sarbananda Sonowal, visited Iran to sign a 10-year agreement to jointly manage Chabahar port, a project in the making for over a decade. Sonowal and his Iranian counterpart, Mehrdad Bazrpash, discussed the possibility of reviving a joint venture shipping line, reminiscent of their past collaboration in Irano Hind Shipping until 2013 when sanctions disrupted operations.

The signing of the Chabahar port agreement marks a historic moment, signalling a new era of trade and maritime cooperation between India, Iran, and Afghanistan. Located in Iran’s Sistan-Baluchistan province on the Arabian Sea, Chabahar provides landlocked Afghanistan with an alternative trade route to Pakistani ports.

India Ports Global (IPGL) and an Iranian state-backed operator will manage Chabahar port, with IPGL taking over operations in 2018. IPGL, wholly owned by India’s Ministry of Ports, Shipping, and Waterways, has also secured rights to operate Sittwe port in Myanmar, further expanding its overseas presence.