Domestic Economy

Southern Ports, Gateway to Central Asia

Southern Ports,  Gateway to Central Asia
Southern Ports,  Gateway to Central Asia

Head of Iran's Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture, Gholam Hossein Shafei has called on India to take advantage of southern Iranian ports to expand its trade with Central Asian countries.

“India can take advantage of Iranian ports in the Persian Gulf to expand its economic activities in the region especially with Afghanistan and Central Asian countries," Shafei said in an official meeting with the president of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry's (FICCI), Jyotsna Suri in New Delhi on Wednesday. He added that oil, petrochemical and food products are suitable areas for expanding bilateral trade between the two countries.

Iranian officials have recently announced that India is determined to go ahead with its plans to invest in the Iranian port city of Chabahar.

Iran’s Chabahar Port, located 72 kilometers west of Pakistan’s Gwadar port, holds immense strategic and economic significance for India. It is already connected to the city of Zaranj in Afghanistan’s southwestern province of Nimruz and can serve as India’s entry point to Afghanistan, Central Asia and beyond.

Shafei also urged Indian officials to ease visa regulations for Iranian businessmen. Shafei, who is heading a 30-member business delegation to India to explore possible avenues for mutual trade, referred to visa processing as a "major problem for the Iranian businessmen willing to engage in economic activities in India."

Prior to his departure, Shafei had described "resolving the existing transit problems" and "discussing India’s share in transit activities in Iran’s southeastern port city of Chabahar" as the main objectives of his visit, Tasnim news agency reported.

FICCI president, Jyotsna Suri also welcomed the development of economic ties with Tehran, saying “Iran and India can benefit from their long friendship to boost bilateral trade relations.”

Trade ties between Iran and India have been on the rise with the export of engineering services from India to Iran rising dramatically in the past months.

Bilateral trade amounted to $177 million by July this year, indicating about 140 percent increase compared with the similar period last year when the figure stood at only $52 million.

In December 2014, an Iranian official announced the opening of an unlimited line of credit (LC) to facilitate money transactions between India and eight Iranian banks.