CHABAHAR PORT

  • Recently, the External Minister of India replied in the Parliament that the US sanctions on Iran have no bearing on India’s Chabahar port project and the port is functioning well.
  • The US has given separate exceptions for the strategic Chabahar port project.

Important points:

  • It is located in the Indian Ocean in the Sistan province of Iran.
  • The Chabahar port is considered a gateway to golden opportunities for trade by India, Iran and Afghanistan with central Asian countries.
  • The port, which is easily accessible from India’s western coast, is increasingly seen as a counter to Pakistan’s Gwadar Port which is being developed with Chinese investment.

Importance for India:

  • Alternate Route: Chabahar Port provides an option of alternate supply route to everyone, thus reducing the importance of Pakistan with respect to trade.
  • Strategic Requirements: It is located on the Gulf of Oman and is only 72 km away from the Gwadar port in Pakistan which has been developed by China.
  • China is aggressively pursuing its own Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) under the One Belt One Road (OBOR) project.
  • Connectivity: In future, the Chabahar project and the International North South Transport Corridor (INSTC) will complement each other by optimising Indian connectivity with Russia and Eurasia.
  • Also, it gives India direct access to Afghanistan and other Central Asian Republics

Reasons :

  • The US acknowledges that the Chabahar port project is not just only in India’s or Iran’s strategic interest but also in Afghanistan’s strategic interest.
  • Afghanistan is a landlocked country which depends on Pakistan for trade. All its trade goes largely through the Pakistani ports.
  • Pakistan denies transit to India for trade with Afghanistan and Central Asia.
  • This project provides Afghanistan a strategic alternative and helps it to escape being landlocked in a sense.
  • If in future, issues between America and Iran get resolved, then Chabahar Port will enable America to bypass Pakistan.
  • Pakistan still controls all the administrative routes by which Afghanistan can be supplied.
  • US has always remained hesitant to act on terrorists, specifically Afghan Talibans, due to that. Chabahar Port gives an option to America to take action against such terrorists.

SOURCE: THE HINDU,THE ECONOMIC TIMES,MINT

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