Armenia is in talks to join Iran’s Chabahar Port as it seeks access to India and other Asian nations, Deputy Foreign Minister Mnatsakan Safaryan told the Economic Times.
Armenia is hoping for early linkages between the International North South Transport Corridor (INSTC) and the Chabahar Port for seamless connectivity.
“The Armenian delegation recently participated in a high-level meeting in Mumbai on Chabahar Port utilisation,” Safaryan said. “We are in talks to join the port and hope that the connectivity between the Chabahar Port and INSTC is completed soon. There are indications that this link will be concluded within a year.”
Armenia’s eagerness to join the Chabahar Port comes in the backdrop of the trilateral grouping of India, Iran and Armenia. During a meeting in the Armenian capital Yerevan this April, the three sides discussed economic projects and regional communication channels.
Armenia, whose ties with New Delhi are acquiring strategic dimensions, has proposed the Persian Gulf-Black Sea corridor via Iran parallel to INSTC or part of a new branch of INSTC to connect Indian traders with Russia and Europe.
The Armenian government has also developed the ‘Crossroads of Peace’ project that has communication development between the countries of the region as a key essence of the peace agenda, which would bring enormous benefits to the larger region, including India.
Describing Armenia as a natural partner for India, the Deputy Foreign Minister said, “We are very similar in many ways. Currently, there is a boom in the construction sector in Armenia and we are in talks with Indian companies. Two leading construction companies from India could be executing projects in Armenia”.
Besides, there has been an increase in the number of Indians working in Armenia.
The minister said that the two sides are in talks to conclude an agreement that will regulate mobility issues. “We are also in talks to launch direct flights between India and Armenia and, hopefully, flights can be launched next year,” he said.
Yet another area of partnership is the IT sector – both Armenia and India claim human capital in this sector. IT professionals from India and Armenia in the Silicon Valley are in touch, exploring avenues of collaboration, Safaryan said.