Domestic Economy

Chabahar-Mumbai Shipping Line to Help Revamp Regional Economy

Chabahar-Mumbai Shipping Line  to Help Revamp Regional EconomyChabahar-Mumbai Shipping Line  to Help Revamp Regional Economy

The head of Iran’s Chamber of Commerce, Mines, Industries and Trade, Gholam Hossein Shafei stressed the importance of establishing a new shipping line between Iran’s southern port of Chabahar and India’s commercial capital, Mumbai, during an official meeting with the Director General of the Federation of Indian Export Organization (FIEO), Ajay Sahai in New Delhi on Wednesday.

“A new shipping line between Chabahar and Mumbai will revolutionize the regional economy,” he was quoted by IRNA as saying in New Delhi.

A thirty-member Iranian delegation led by Shafei left Tehran for India last week to discuss new avenues to boost bilateral trade between Iran and India.

Referring to the proposed shipping line as the “shortest and most efficient route for the export of Indian commodities to Central Asia, Caucasus and Europe,” Shafei said: “The new shipping line, along with the North-South and East-West Corridors Projects, will help boost trade relations between Iran and India.” He also announced plans to establish an airline between the Iranian city of Mashhad and India.

Shafei suggested that Iranian and Indian businessmen could make joint investments to export Indian commodities such as rice, spices, tea, etc. to Afghanistan and other countries in the region.”

Noting that “trade between Iran and India has grown despite economic sanctions imposed on Iran by the West,” the official said bilateral trade between Iran and India amounts to $16 billion per annum, including export of non-oil commodities, worth $6 billion.

Shafei also referred to “banking restrictions” as an obstacle to trade relations between the two countries and called for more Indian banks to engage in financial transactions with Iran.

Ever since the UN Security Council imposed financial sanctions on Iranian banks over Tehran’s nuclear energy program, bilateral trade between Iran and India has been undertaken through only one Indian bank.

Director General of the Federation of Indian Export Organization (FIEO), Ajay Sahai also emphasized the importance of expanding economic ties with Iran and said: “Today, India is recognized as one of the most successful economies in the world, having experienced eight percent economic growth in the past three consecutive years.”

Trade between Iran and India took a new turn after the Indian government announced recently that it is ready to go ahead with the long-delayed construction of the strategic port city of Chabahar in Iran, which would give India easier access to Afghanistan and Central Asia through a shorter route.

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently said that India is keen to help develop the strategic Iranian port of Chabahar, seen by India as offering an alternative route to landlocked Afghanistan and resource-rich central Asian countries.

India and Iran agreed to look at developing the port in southeastern Iran in 2003 during a visit to India by then Iranian President Mohammad Khatami, but the venture has not made much progress.

The Chabahar port on the Gulf of Oman is 72km from Pakistan’s Chinese-constructed port of Gwadar, built as part of a plan to open up an energy and trade corridor from the Gulf to western China. It has the capacity to handle 2.5 million tons a year, which Iran would like to increase to 12.5 million tons.