For India, the investment in Chabahar was important since the port will bolster a trade route for land-locked Central Asian countries that would bypass rival Pakistan. In October though, India flagged off a shipment of wheat for Afghanistan through Iran's Chabahar port-marking the operationalization of the port for the trans-shipment of goods from India to the landlocked country.
Minister of Roads and Urban Development of Iran Dr. Abbas Ahmed Akhoundi, Minister of Commerce and Industries of Afghanistan Humayoon Rasaw and Minister of State for Shipping of India P Radhakrishnan led the respective delegations.
A total of $1 billion is being invested in the first phase of the Chabahar development project, a joint worldwide project billed as an "International Gateway" by Iranian officials who have invested $403 million (up until now) from the National Development Fund of Iran in the project and gained the approval of India to invest $85 million to complete the project.
The three Ministers welcomed the inauguration of Phase-1 of the Chabahar Port by the President of Iran earlier in the day.
So far, India has received a go-ahead from the USA with regards to carrying out economic activities in Chabahar. An 11-billion dollar Hajigak iron and steel mining project has been awarded to seven Indian companies in central Afghanistan.
India's interest in the port dates back to 1990 when as per an IDSA report it partially built the port in order to access Afghanistan and Central Asia by bypassing Pakistan.
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New Delhi has already completed the Zaranj-Delaram road in Afghanistan that connects the Iranian border with all four major Afghan cities.
"This is a strategic route for India", Amirhossein Esmaeili, director of Shahid Beheshti Port Terminal's Development project, told Al Jazeera.
Asked how China views the launch of the project, considering that China is investing heavily in Gwadar as part of the United States dollars 50 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang declined to comment on it directly. Gwadar is a deep-sea port in the Arabian Sea in Balochistan province of Pakistan, close to Iran, which is only about 80 Kms from Chabahar. As per the reports, the Chabahar port pact allows the Afghanistan to import and export goods from markets like India after reducing its dependence on Pakistan's Karachi port. "Trade and economics must always be separate from any kind of disputes", said Afghanistan's Ambassador to India Dr Shaida Abdali in an interview with Businessworld.
It said that the first phase of the Chabahar port project is known as the Shahid Beheshti port.
Pakistan now does not allow India to transport goods through its territory to Afghanistan because of hostility in their ties. "We are looking for lakhs of jobs creation, skilled or unskilled.", said Dr Abdali.
Ahead of the inauguration of the port, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj yesterday met her Iranian counterpart Javed Zarif in Tehran during which implementation of the Chabahar port project was discussed among other issues.