India-backed Chabahar Port not a rival to gwadar, Iran tells Pakistan

May 28, 2016

Islamabad, May 28: The India-backed Chabahar Port in Iran is not a rival to Pakistan's Gwadar Port, which is being modernised by China, the Iranian ambassador to Pakistan said today, adding, the agreement to develop Chabahar was not limited to India and Afghanistan.

Mehdi Honerdoost, speaking to Pakistan 's Dawn Online in Islamabad, said the offer to cooperate on the Chabahar Port was first given to Pakistan and then China. The envoy said the Chabahar port was not a rival to Gwadar and its authorities would extend cooperation to Pakistan.

"The deal is not finished. We are waiting for new members. Pakistan, our brotherly neighbours, and China, a great partner of the Iranians and a good friend of Pakistan, are both welcome," Mr Honerdoost said.

PM Modi on his maiden trip to Iran last week pledged $500 million to develop the Chabahar Port in Gulf of Oman on country's southern coast along with Afghanistan in a tripartite agreement. The port will give India a trade route with Afganistan bypassing Pakistan.

"India was a good friend during the sanctions, the only country to import oil from us during sanctions," Mr Honerdoost said.

The development of the Chabahar port expands a trade route for the land-locked countries of central Asia bypassing Pakistan which does not allow India to send goods through its territory to Afghanistan and has only recently begun to allow a trickle of Afghan exports to cross through to India.


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