Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT, at Navi Mumbai) would take 60 per cent equity in the Indian company to be formed for developing the Chabahar port in southeastern Iran. Kandla Port Trust (KPT) would hold the remaining equity.
The Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) is likely to be named Indian Ports Global. The formation and registration are likely to be completed this month. "The SPV will be registered soon. We are awaiting the nomination of a third director from the shipping ministry," said a senior official from JNPT, requesting anonymity.
The chairmen of JNPT and KPT, with a nominated director from the Union shipping ministry, would be part of the company's board of directors.
After the SPV formation, a memorandum of understanding between the governments of India and Iran would be signed in early 2015. Chabahar would be India's first foreign port project. Its strategic significance is in the access it provides to Afghanistan, Central Asia and beyond. Originally envisioned by the government led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 2003, the project has been delayed over the years.
While issues of viability persist, India wants to take up the project. The strategy is aimed at fulfilling the immediate security interests of establishing a sea-land route into Afghanistan's major cities - Herat, Kandahar, Kabul and Mazar-e-Sharif. This access will be facilitated through the Zaranj-Delaram road, constructed by India in 2009. Additionally, it's a step to counter China's growing influence in the development of that region.