New Delhi: India hopes to fully operationalise the Chabahar Port in Iran soon, Shipping and Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari said on Tuesday.
Following a meeting here with visiting Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, Gadkari also told reporters that the Indian government has allowed an Iranian bank to open a branch in Mumbai to facilitate transactions related to the Chabahar Port.
"The Chabahar port is very important for us. We are working very hard on it. Some problems were there, but the Iranian government are also in the process to resolve all the issues as early as possible. I am confident that we will be in a position to start full function of Chabahar port at the earliest," Gadkari said.
He said the Reserve Bank of India has given clearance to an Iranian bank to open a branch in Mumbai within three months.
"The government of India has given permission to an Iranian bank to open its branch in Mumbai. It is going to open within three months, and will be used for transactions" he said.
"The two banks will facilitate transactions relating to operation of berths at Chabahar port," he added.
The Iranian Minister expressed the hope that "in spite of the illegal US sanctions", both India and Iran can cooperate further for the benefit of the people of the two countries and for the region.
"We had very good discussions on both Chabahar as well as other areas of cooperation between Iran and India. The two countries complement each other and we can cooperate in whole range of areas," Zarif said.
"We are very happy that both UCO Bank from India and Pasargad Bank from Iran are getting started with the business," he added.
The Shipping Ministry said on Monday that India has taken over the operations of a part of the Chabahar Port, which marks the first time it will be operating a port outside its territories.
The takeover of operations was done during the Chabahar Trilateral Agreement meeting between Indian, Iranian and Afghan officials held on December 24, a ministry statement said.
While India started interacting with Iran on Chabahar Port around 2003, an MoU was signed between the two countries for the development of Chabahar Port in May 2015 which was later translated into a formal 10-year contract for equipping and operating the port.
According to Gadkari, India has placed $85 million machinery order for Chabahar Port.