New Delhi– India is making efforts to operationalise the Chabahar port in Iran by 2019 which would make the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) region more accessible, Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari has said.

Gadkari, who is on a two-day visit to Tajikistan, was speaking after inaugurating the cultural centre at the Indian Embassy in Dushanbe on Thursday, according to a Shipping Ministry statement.

India, Iran and Afghanistan signed a trilateral agreement in 2016 to jointly develop the Chabahar Port, opening a new strategic transit route between the three nations and other Central Asian countries, bypassing Pakistan.

But the recent withdrawal of US from the Iran nuclear deal and its decision to re-impose sanctions on the Gulf nation has put a question mark over the target to complete the project.

Besides the port, India has other strategic interests in Iran including the International North South Transport Corridor that will link India with Central Asia and Europe. It is also the biggest customer of Iranian oil after China. (IANS)