Hot on the heels of signing 10-year contract for Chabahar port operation, India has said that it will replicate the model in other strategic locations in the region to gain access to more such assets.

“India aims to replicate the Chabahar model in other strategic locations by adhering to similar principles such as identifying ports in regions that offer economic advantages, investing in the modernisation and development of port infrastructure,” Sarbananda Sonowal, Union Minister of Ports, Shipping and Waterways told Economic Times.

Chabahar is a deep water port located in the Sistan-Baluchistan province of Iran. India had entered an agreement to develop the strategically important Chabahar port, close to Iran's border with Pakistan, in 2016. On 13 May, it signed a long-term deal with Iran to develop it further.

Sonowal travelled to Tehran to witness the signing of the long term bilateral contract for the development of the Shahid Beheshti Port Terminal at Chabahar. The contract was signed between India Port Global Limited (IPGL) and the Ports and Maritime Organization (PMO) of Iran.

Under the agreement, IPGL will invest about $120 million with an additional $250 million in financing, bringing the contract's value to $370 million, said Iran's Minister of Roads and Urban Development Mehrdad Bazrpash. As part of the investment, India will procure, install, and operate key equipment at Chabahar, the first overseas port to be operated by the country.

The project is seen as India’s regional strategic response to Gwadar port in Pakistan being developed under China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

(With Reporting by Economic Times, Swarajyamag)