The port opened Afghanistan and Central Asia to Indian commerce while isolating Pakistan.
The inauguration of the port project comes some 15 years after India and Iran first formally agreed to develop the Chabahar port in January 2003, during the visit by then Iranian president Mohammed Khatami to New Delhi.
State TV said President Hassan Rohani attended the inauguration on December 3 along with dignitaries from India, Qatar, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and other countries.
The port, on the Gulf of Oman, Iran's closest coastline to the Indian Ocean, is expected to become a rival to the nearby Pakistani port of Gwadar, which Pakistan is developing with support from China. Through the joint collaboration, the first tranche of 110000 tonnes of wheat has already reached Afghanistan through Chabahar Port about a month ago. The cargo was sent from Kandla port in Gujarat in October this year.
■ The Chabahar port will be beneficial to India in countering Chinese presence in the Arabian Sea. India is also planning to build rail links across the region that will not only connect the port with India promoted Hajigak iron and steel mining project in central Afghanistan, but also serve as a link to the port with central Asia, Russia and Europe. With Iran in the dock for its suspect nuclear programme and India keen to see its civil nuclear pact with the U.S. tied up (the agreement was finally signed in 2008), discussions on the port development went slow.
Pakistan now does not allow India to transport goods through its territory to Afghanistan because of hostility in their ties.
The first part of India's construction is scheduled to be finished in 2018. The two ministers are understood to have reviewed the implementation of the Chabahar port project in which India is a key partner.
■ With Chabahar port being developed and operated by India, it could be used as a point from where humanitarian operations could be coordinated, should the need arise.
Once the project is complete, Chabahar will be linked with the International North-South Transportation Corridor (INSTC), which now stretches from the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas in the Gulf to Russia, Eurasia and Europe.
The port will increase the capacity of loading and unloading of the ships as well as the employment rate in the province, also an official with the Sistan and Baluchestan Ports and Maritime Organization said on the sidelines of the ceremony.
Ahead of the inauguration, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj met her Iranian counterpart Zarif in Tehran on Saturday, during a surprise stopover on her way back from a Shanghai Cooperation Organisation meeting in Russian Federation, and discussed the port project among other issues.