After long parleys and delays caused by international sanctions, Iran has said that it will hand over the strategic Chabahar port to an Indian company within a month for operations as per an interim pact between the two countries.

The Iranian Minister of Roads and Urban Development Abbas Akhoundi during a summit meeting in Delhi said, “Now, we are ready just to handover the port (Chabahar) to the Indian company just to operate this in interim agreement that already we had with Indian part for one and a half year.”

Chabahar port is seen as India’s bid to counter Pakistan's Gwadar port that China operates. Gwadar and Chabahar are separated by a mere 80 km. MyNation takes a look at the major gains for India from the Chabahar port. 

1.    The biggest advantage that Chabahar gives India is that it gives to India a passage to Afghanistan bypassing Pakistan for the purpose of transporting goods to the rocky country. Through Afghanistan, India can get access also to central Asia and Russia through land routes.

2.    India can counter the presence of the Chinese in the Arabian Sea and Gwadar port in Pakistan, too, thanks to Chabahar. China’s activities have been increasing in the Arabian Sea through an increased military presence.

3.    The cost of oil imports to India from Iran is going to see a decline as India will increase the volume of purchase from that country. India will get an option to pay in kind for the oil imports from Iran in the form of its agriculture produce and engineering services.

4.    After getting entry into Afghanistan through Iran, India can use the Zaranj-Delaram road constructed by India in 2009, too, to get access to Afghanistan's Garland Highway, setting up a road access to four major cities in Afghanistan: Herat, Kandahar, Kabul and Mazar-e-Sharif.

5.    Chabahar port will also ensure that ties between India and Iran will get further strengthened and help improve commercial and strategic ties between the two sides that have a common enemy in Pakistan-backed Taliban in Afghanistan. Both India and Afghanistan have been supporting the Northern Alliance leaders against the Taliban over the last few decades.