India can involve pvt sector in Chabahar

Iran has suggested that India could rope in its private sector for development of Chabahar Port and the adjoining free trade zone in the Islamic Republic, even as the two nations are trying to narrow down differences on terms of the contract.

Ali Taiebnia, Minister for Economic Affairs and Finance of Iran, on Monday told External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj that India could involve both public and private sector companies for development of Chahbahar Port and Chahbahar Free Trade Zone as well as in setting up industrial units in the Free Trade Zone.

Taiebnia made the suggestion during India-Iran Joint Commission Meeting, which he and Swaraj co-chaired in New Delhi on Monday. 

New Delhi had already pledged to build a container terminal and a multi-purpose cargo terminal on two berths at the Chabahar Port in south-eastern coast of Iran. India is interested in the project, as the strategically important port could give it a sea-land access to Afghanistan and Central Asia, bypassing Pakistan.

Swaraj told Taiebnia that India considered Iran as an important partner. She expressed satisfaction at the growing bilateral interaction in diverse area, the Ministry of External Affairs stated in a press release after the meeting. 

Swaraj underlined the efforts being taken to enhance bilateral economic cooperation in energy, infrastructure – including shipping, ports and railways – and trade and commerce. She stressed that connectivity afforded by Indian participation in Chahbahar Port would facilitate linking Afghanistan and Central Asia with India.

She also emphasised the need for early completion of all necessary procedures for India’s participation in Farzad-B field and pointed out India’s desire to participate in other oil and gas explorations in Iran as well. Swaraj and Taiebnia reviewed the progress in trade and economic cooperation and discussed possibilities in cooperation in railways, including by supply of rails, rolling stock, signalling and other works and India’s participation in Chahbahar-Zahedan-Mashhad railway line in Iran.

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