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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS

  • 29 August, 2022

  • 6 Min Read

Chabahar Port

Chabahar Port

In order to assess the state of development, the Union Minister of Ports, Shipping, and Waterways travelled to Iran's Shahid Beheshti port in Chabahar.

Image Source - Silk road briefing

About the Chabahar Port

  • In the Gulf of Oman, in southern Iran, is the port of Chabahar. This is the only port in Iran with direct access to the sea.
  • India, Iran, and Afghanistan view it as a gateway to lucrative economic potential with Central Asian nations.
  • Shahid Kalantari and Shahid Beheshti are two distinct ports that are part of the Chabahar port. The Shaheed Beheshti Port's operations have been taken over by the Indian company India Ports Global Limited. The port development should not be seen in a vacuum, but rather through the lens of additional advantages that India can get from this endeavour.
  • However, given the complexity of India-Iran bilateral relations, several more factors must be taken into account in order to forecast Chabahar Port's viability from an Indian perspective

Significance of Chabahar Port for India

  • Direct Route to Afghanistan: This will guarantee the creation of a connection that is politically viable between India and Afghanistan. Better commercial relations between the two nations will follow from this.
  • Pakistan denies that Indian trucks travelling to Afghanistan had used its land.
  • Afghan trade with other nations will benefit from Chabahar Port as well.
  • Reduced reliance on Pakistan and thus less Pakistani influence over Afghan domestic politics will be the outcome, which will strategically benefit India.
  • China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and Chinese presence in the Arabian Sea, which China is attempting to assure by aiding Pakistan in developing the Gwadar port, are two things that Chabahar port would assist India in combat.
  • Chabahar Port is around 72 kilometres from Gwadar Port.
  • Trade and commerce: With the opening of Chabahar port, India's imports of iron ore, sugar, and rice will increase significantly.
  • Oil import costs to India will also significantly decrease.
  • The Ministry of Commerce claims that INSTC and Chabahar port provide 30% lower import prices than the Mediterranean-Suez route.
  • The Chabahar port allows for the export of natural gas from Central Asia to India. Projects like the Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India (TAPI) pipeline already include India as a partner.
  • India has also already upped its purchases of crude from Iran after the ban the West had placed on Iran was lifted.
  • Humanitarian Operations: From a diplomatic viewpoint, India may use Chabahar port as a hub for Central and South Asian humanitarian operations

Challenges

  • Iran and China are becoming more closely connected recently.
  • As indicated by the Chinese President's 2016 trip to Iran, termed the "Comprehensive Plan for Cooperation between Iran and China," China is likewise advancing its relations with Iran.
  • Iranian ratification of the much-touted draught strategic partnership between China and Russia, in which both nations want to advance their long-term relationship to a new level through the USD 400 billion pact.
  • US-Iran Conflict: The direction in which ties between Iran and the United States have a potential impact on Chabahar's progress.
  • India needs the US' backing on the global stage, particularly for its application to join the NSG (Nuclear Suppliers' Group), while it works to improve its relations with Iran
  • Balancing Relations with Middle Eastern Nations: Good India-Iran relations are necessary for the development of the Chabahar Port.
  • Given its own links with nations like Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Israel, which has a contentious past with Iran, India's relations with Iran will necessitate a delicate balancing act on its behalf.

Way Forward

  • G20 in 2023: India will have the chance to combine its geopolitical objectives with geoeconomic themes by holding the G20 leadership in 2023.
  • India has previously been seen as an up-and-coming power that is vying to dominate the world.
  • India will get the chance in 2023 to explain the value of Chabahar Port in enhancing North-South connectivity.
  • Chabahar: It is a symbol of India's International Presence. India cannot limit itself to South Asia and stands to benefit much from an extended neighbourhood (Iran-Afghanistan), which not only enhances trade and energy security but is also essential to India's aspirations to become a superpower.
  • Improving bilateral ties between India and Iran: Strong bilateral political and commercial ties are necessary for the seamless development of the Chabahar port and for both countries' economies to grow.
  • A positive move in this approach is India currently using the port to export pesticides to Iran to aid in the country's fight against a locust invasion.
  • Relationships between Iran and the US can be balanced, and India can act as a peacemaker and balancer between the two nations in the interests of its strong national interest.

Also, Read - Armed forces special powers act 1958

Source: The Hindu


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