Tehran: Commending Prime Minister Narendra Modi's leadership, Union Minister of Ports, Shipping and Waterways Sarbananda Sonowal on Monday said that under PM Modi's leadership India is on its way to becoming a major maritime player with a formidable supply chain network.

India and Iran on Monday signed a long-term contract for operating the Shahid-Beheshti Port Terminal to foster close cooperation to make Chabahar Port a regional trade transit and connectivity hub.

Union Minister Sonowal emphasised that the Chabahar Port's significance transcends its role as a mere conduit between India and Iran and serves as a vital trade artery connecting India with Afghanistan and Central Asian countries.

"This linkage has unlocked new avenues for trade and fortified supply chain resilience across the region. Under the leadership of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi ji, India is on its way to becoming a major maritime player with a formidable supply chain network," he said.

Moreover, the establishment of regular ship calls between Chabahar Port and Indian ports has instilled stability and confidence among traders, offering them visibility and predictability in their supply chain operations.

Following the development, Sonowal, while speaking at the meeting, stressed that the momentous agreement that began on May 23, 2016, is culminating today into a long-term contract, symbolising the enduring trust and depending partnership between India and Iran.

Calling it a "historic day for the maritime sector of the region", Sonowal said that India and Iran signed this Long Term Agreement on Chabahar Port heralding a new age of trade, and marine cooperation as well as transhipment while boosting trilateral trade among India, Iran and Afghanistan.

He further lauded PM Modi's leadership and said, " India's sustained engagement in Chabahar underscores its role as an anchor for Indian trade in the region while enhancing its role in the Global Supply Chain."

India will use the port for humanitarian aid shipments reaffirming its commitment to support regional development beyond commercial interests, showcasing its commitment to fostering goodwill and stability in the region.

Moreover, he highlighted that the project will also encourage Indian entrepreneurs to venture into the region as envisaged by PM Modi.

"As envisaged by the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, this project is also about encouraging Indian entrepreneurs to venture into the region from long-term prospects. The port's integration with a Special Free Zone augments its appeal, while India's incentives, such as concessions on vessel-related charges and cargo charges, bolster trade flows through Chabahar, fostering economic growth and cooperation," he said.

"The invaluable guidance by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi ji turned this project into a viable reality with a long-term outlook," Sonowal said.

(With Agency Inputs)