India & Iran finalize strategic Chabahar port development pact spanning operations, connectivity & trade after prolonged negotiations

Chabahar gateway provides India direct access to Afghanistan & Central Asia, bypasses dependence on land route via Pakistan. 

Port links India to INSTC corridor & proposed IMEC route - gateways to Eurasian markets, Europe for exports boost. 

$8 billion project funded by India involves port infrastructure, free trade zone - aims positioning Chabahar as regional transit hub. 

Geostrategic counterweight to China's expanding footprint via BRI & CPEC corridors in West Asia, Middle East heartland. 

Initiative showcases India's benign large power credentials, constructive partnership respecting national agency unlike Beijing. 

Leverages deep civilizational ties between India & Iran to stabilize an extended neighborhood where no single actor dominates. 

Energy security core focus, access to Central Asia resources, balancing China's control over oil/gas assets across region. 

Operationalization timelines unclear but China's debt-trap warnings make regional players look favorably at Indian model led by consultative ethos. 

Despite execution delays, India perseveres playing long game with Chabahar aligned to destiny as inheritor of Persian legacy binding emerging Eurasian axis