India's External Affairs Minister Defends Chabahar Port Agreement Amid US Sanction Warnings

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India's External Affairs Minister Defends Chabahar Port Agreement Amid US Sanction Warnings


India's External Affairs Minister defends the Chabahar Port agreement with Iran, stressing its regional benefits, amid US warnings of potential sanctions. The agreement aims to enhance trade connectivity with Afghanistan and Central Asia.

India’s External Affairs Minister, S. Jaishankar, has emphasized the regional benefits of the Chabahar Port project in Iran, despite recent warnings from the United States about potential sanctions. This statement came a day after the US cautioned about the risks of doing business with Iran following India's signing of a 10-year agreement to operate the port.

During an event in Kolkata, Jaishankar highlighted that the Chabahar Port has broader implications for regional trade and development, urging that the project should not be viewed narrowly. He noted that the US has previously recognized the strategic importance of Chabahar, which serves as a key transit hub for trade with Afghanistan and Central Asia.

Responding to the US warnings, Jaishankar stated, "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." He pointed out that the US had been supportive of the Chabahar project in the past due to its broader relevance.

On Tuesday, US State Department Principal Deputy Spokesperson Vedant Patel reiterated that US sanctions on Iran remain in place and warned entities of the risks involved in business deals with Tehran. "Any entity, anyone considering business deals with Iran, they need to be aware of the potential risk they are opening themselves up to, potential risk of sanctions," Patel stated.

The recent agreement, signed between Indian Ports Global Limited (IPGL) and Iran’s Port & Maritime Organisation (PMO), allows India to operate the Shahid Beheshti port within the Chabahar Port Development Project for a decade. Jaishankar explained that while India has been involved with the Chabahar Port for a long time, issues on the Iranian side had previously hindered a long-term pact. Resolving these issues was crucial for improving port operations and realizing its regional benefits.

The Chabahar Port project, a collaborative effort between India and Iran, aims to enhance trade connectivity with Afghanistan and Central Asia, providing these landlocked regions with access to maritime routes. India's investment in the port’s infrastructure underscores its strategic interest in facilitating regional trade and economic integration.

In conclusion, Jaishankar reiterated India’s commitment to the Chabahar Port project, expressing confidence that the long-term agreement would benefit the entire region despite the potential challenges posed by US sanctions.

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