The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said Minister of State for Shipping Pon Radhakrishnan represented India at the inauguration ceremony of the Phase 1 of the Shahid Beheshti Port at Chabahar which was also attended by ambassadors and senior officials of the region.
Asked whether Iran is prepared for the USA to return to sanctions, Mohammad Rastad, Iran's Deputy Transport Minister in ports and maritime affairs, said: "Nothing's happened as yet, has it?"
The first three shipments of Indian wheat to Afghanistan were unloaded in the morning, according to the Iranian ports organisation.
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Just a day before the historic inauguration, EAM Sushma Swaraj made a surprise stopover at Iran on her way back from Russian Federation and met with her counterpart Javed Zarif.
In the president's words, the inauguration of the first phase of Shahid Beheshti Port marks a historic day for Iran, particularly for the people of Chabahar, IRNA reported.
Chabahar Port is a collaboration between India, Afghanistan, and Iran, to continue trading through Central Asia, bypassing Pakistan (which is constantly denying entry to India) for transit access and finding an alternative to entering the landlocked central Asian countries. In October, India sent a first consignment of wheat to Afghanistan through Chabahar.
India and Iran are the signatories to the port development project, the second pact was signed by India, Iran and Afghanistan.
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Chabahar provides India with an easier land-sea route to Afghanistan.
It is also expected to make Chabahar, Iran's closest sea link to the Indian Ocean, a rival to Gwadar Port, some 80 kilometers away (50 miles) across the border in Pakistan, which Pakistan has been building with Chinese investment. The development of Chabahar Port is a driving force for the country's economic development, especially the South East, and port operations can create added value and employment in the south-east of Iran. Akbar was speaking at the 7th Meeting of Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan (RECCA), which was formed to promote peace in Afghanistan. However, Iran has assured Pakistan that Chabahar is not being developed to rival Gwadar, which is itself now being developed under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.
India has prepared massive investment plans, which will include a network of roads and railways at a cost of United States dollars 15 billion, as part of its strategic push in the area. The ministers agreed to further intensify efforts on issues concerning regional connectivity and to focus on Chabahar Port development under the May 2016 Trilateral Transit and Trade Agreement.
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