Source: Press TV
Defying US warnings, India has signed an agreement with Iran to develop a port in the southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchestan.
A view of Chabahar in south Iran
The agreement was reached following comprehensive talks between visiting Indian Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari and Iranian Minister of Roads and Urban Development Abbas Ahmad Akhoundi on Wednesday.
"With the signing of this MoU (Memorandum of Understanding), Indian and Iranian commercial entities would now be in a position to commence negotiations towards finalization of a commercial contract under which Indian firms will lease two existing berths at the port and operationalize them as container and multi-purpose cargo terminals," said an Indian Ministry of External Affairs statement.
The seaport will be located in Iranian port city of Chabahar in the Sistan-Baluchestan province on the southeastern coast of the province along the Gulf of Oman, and will give India a sea-land access route to Afghanistan, bypassing Pakistan.
The US has warned India and other countries not to rush into doing business with Iran until the country's nuclear talks are finished by a June 30 deadline.
Located on the confluence of the Indian Ocean and the Sea of Oman, Chabahar is India's first foreign port project. Once completed, the project would enable India to send its goods from Chabahar to Afghanistan, Central Asia and beyond.
Iran and P5+1 are presently engaged in technical talks over the drafting of a final comprehensive agreement on the Iranian nuclear energy program. The agreement envisages the removal of certain economic sanctions in return for Iran's restrictions on its nuclear energy activities.
According to a report in Business Standard newspaper, New Delhi plans to build a road-railroad network from Chabahar to Milak, situated on the Afghanistan-Iran border, which can be connected to the India-built 223-kilometer Zaranj-Delaram road in Afghanistan, also known as Route 606.
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