Nitin Gadkari assures India will resolve all issues, says Iranian bank has now been allowed to open branch in Mumbai for faster transactions.
New Delhi: Iran has complained that India is taking a long time in developing the Chabahar port due to delays in procurement of necessary equipment and machinery. It has also urged India to seek an extension of the waiver that New Delhi has obtained from Washington for long-term purchase of Iranian oil.
The issues were raised during a meeting held in New Delhi Tuesday between Iran Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and Road, Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari, sources told ThePrint.
Sources said Iran was particularly upset that India is not completing the Chabahar project as per the timelines laid out by them initially and that is hampering the full operations of the port.
Also read: India hopes to fully operationalise Chabahar port in Iran soon: Nitin Gadkari
‘Hopeful of operationalising port soon’
Gadkari Tuesday claimed that he had a “fruitful” meeting with Zarif and he is hopeful of fully operationalising the port, especially because it has also now allowed one of the Iranian banks to open a branch in Mumbai for easier and faster transactions.
“Chabahar port is very important for us. We are working very hard on it… Some problems were there, but the Iranian government and their minister… 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.
“We are very happy that both UCO Bank from India and Pasargad Bank from Iran are getting started with the business,” said Zarif after the ministers met.
India, which had obtained a six-month waiver from US sanctions on Tehran, had announced Monday that it had taken over operations of a part of the Shahid Beheshti Port in Chabahar and the first ship from Brazil has already been received there.
Also read: Why Nitin Gadkari could be India’s next prime minister
Stress on ties
Later on, while addressing a business conference organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Zarif said India can buy fertilisers from Iran. He said because of the “arbitrary sanctions” by the US, Indian farmers are paying 38 per cent more to buy fertilisers from other countries.
“Iran, I can assure you, is the most reliable energy provider for India. We have never allowed any consideration to impede our economic relations with our partners. We will always be there,” Zarif said.
“Not a single power” in the world can change its friendly relationship with India, he said, adding that sanctions are not new for Iran.
Meanwhile, Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister for Economic Affairs Gholam Reza Ansari, who is also Iran’s former ambassador to India, emphasised that India should make an effort to extend the waiver beyond May. He also said Iran is keen on granting India development rights for its Farzad B gas field by easing some of the terms in the contract.
Ansari is part of the high-powered delegation that is accompanying Zarif to India.