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India Inks 10-year Deal to Operate Iran’s Chabahar Port

India and Iran have inked a significant 10-year bilateral contract aimed at enhancing the operations of the Chabahar Port. This move underscores India’s strategic interests in bolstering trade links with Central Asia and parts of Europe, leveraging the port’s strategic location on Iran’s southwestern coast.


The Chabahar Port, strategically positioned with easy access to India’s west coast, serves as a vital component of the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC). Despite a formal agreement signed in 2016, sanctions against Iran had impeded progress, leading to short-term operational agreements.

Significance of the Agreement

The signing of the long-term contract between India Port Global Limited (IPGL) and the Ports and Maritime Organization (PMO) of Iran marks a pivotal moment in strengthening economic activities and expanding India’s role in global trade and commerce. The agreement is poised to provide stability and encourage investments in the port, addressing concerns among investors and shippers regarding the lack of a government-backed long-term arrangement.

Beyond Commercial Interests

India’s engagement in Chabahar extends beyond commercial interests. The port will serve as a conduit for humanitarian aid shipments, underscoring India’s commitment to regional development and stability. This multifaceted approach highlights India’s role as a key player in fostering goodwill and connectivity in the region.

Government’s Efforts

A 10-member delegation, led by Union Shipping Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, facilitated the execution of the agreement in Tehran. Despite the ongoing Lok Sabha elections, the Election Commission granted an exemption for the visit, underscoring the government’s prioritization of strategic partnerships.

Geopolitical Implications

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar emphasized the geopolitical significance of Chabahar, stressing its role in connecting India to Russia and Central Asia through the INSTC. The port’s development aligns with India’s broader objective of diversifying import routes, enhancing energy security, and asserting its influence in regional geopolitics.

INSTC and Trade Opportunities

Chabahar’s integration into the INSTC holds promise for facilitating trade between India and Central Asian countries. The collaboration between India and Iran aims to reduce transportation costs and time, opening up new avenues for economic cooperation and infrastructure development along the 7,200 km corridor.

Expert Insights

Experts highlight the strategic advantages offered by Chabahar, including diversification of import routes, access to new markets, and enhanced energy security. Raju Kumar, Tax Partner at EY India, underscores the port’s role in bolstering India’s energy footprint, infrastructure capabilities, and geopolitical influence in the region.

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