The Minister for Road Transport & Highways and Shipping Nitin Gadkari has said that the government is keen on developing Chabahar Port in Iran and is hopeful of starting operations by 2018. Shri Gadkari is in Teheran today, to represent India at the taking over of office by President Hassan Rouhani for the second term. On the eve of his visit to Iran the Minister said that India and Iran have shared special ties historically. Shri Gadkari informed that civil construction work has already started at the Chabahar Port .The Indian Government has allocated Rs 6 billion for the development of the port. Out of this, tenders worth Rs 380 Crore for equipment have already been finalized.He said he was hopeful that the Iran Government would accord certain necessary approvals for expediting the work. Shri Gadkari said the Chabahar Port will boost trade and business between the two countries and in the region.Iran's Chabahar port located in the Sistan-Baluchistan Province on the south-eastern coast is a port of great strategic utility for India. It lies outside the Persian Gulf and is accessed from India's western coast. As per an MoU signed between India and Iran in May lastyear, India is to equip and operate two berths in Chabahar Port Phase-I with capital investment of USD 85.21 million andannual revenue expenditure of USD 22.95 million on a 10-yearlease.