Augmenting India-Iran ties to boost trade: Nitin Gadkari

Iran has come up with very good offers on development of integrated Chabahar port and augmenting ties with the country will boost trade, giving a shot in the arm to the Indian industry, Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari said on Friday.

New Delhi: Iran has come up with very good offers on development of integrated Chabahar port and augmenting ties with the country will boost trade, giving a shot in the arm to the Indian industry, Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari said on Friday.

"Iran is ready to offer entire port (Chabahar). They have given us two offers, we will discuss with Foreign Ministry and Prime Minister we will take a decision within 10 days... It was a very fruitful meeting. We will hugely benefit from it. Indian industries will get a boost and will get ample opportunities to work there. Economy will get a boost," Gadkari told a news agency.

Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif called on him in the first ministerial trip here after Iran struck a nuclear deal with the US and western powers, lifting sanctions against it.
Gadkari said Iran has offered India to develop integrated Chabahar port which has special economic zone (SEZ) and soon concerned Ministries will deliberate on the issue including how to take ahead port development in phases.

Once the port is developed it will provide big boost to Indian industries as "the distance between Chabahar to Mundra, Kandla is less than Delhi and Mumbai", he said adding, "We can go now to Afghanistan, Turkestan to Russia bypassing Pakistan."

"This will give a major boost to our imports and exports as Chabahar port has SEZ.

Gadkari had visited Tehran in May when the countries signed an agreement to develop Chabahar port, located on Iran's southeastern coast. The strategically important port would provide India a sea-land access route to Afghanistan bypassing Pakistan.

After the MoU between India and Iran for development and operation of two terminals at Chabahar Port in May 2015, discussions are on for concluding the agreements which include possibility of India taking over the development and operation of Phase II of Chabahar Port.

The minister said he will also hold talks with the ministers of chemicals & fertilisers and petroleum on the possibilities of setting up complexes there including urea and petroleum products. India spends a huge Rs 80,000 crore as subsidy on urea.

Also, a petroleum complex too can be set up there and the country could easily import goods while exports can be made through Russia.

Gadkari said the meeting against the backdrop of increased engagement between India and Iran in the infrastructure sectors was very fruitful.

Both the ministers discussed the need for early conclusion of the India-Iran-Afghanistan Transit Agreement, which will enable the potential of Chabahar Port to be realised.

Both the ministers also discussed the potential of cooperation in road, railways, fertilisers and petro-chemicals on the strength of the foundation of cooperation in Chabahar Port. 

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