Saturday 18th of May 2024

Chabahar Port a Good Economic and Strategic Importance
Ajay Mohan
Region : Middle East-North Africa,
Issue : Security,

Chabahar in Persian means Char (four) and bahar (spring) implying a place where all four season of the year are spring time. Iran and India always remain a good friend India always opposed sanctions on Iran and favour of negotiations between Iran and western countries. So that after lifted the sanctions India‘s dream project Chabahar port has started the progress. As we know present Indian government is pro-business government and reformist government. When Narender Modi came to power to only one agenda eradicate poverty and giving a good atmosphere to the foreign investors. Iran needs India to develop its blocked economy. At once Iran’s president Hassan Rouhani said “Resumption Iran-India cooperation in the south eastern Iranian port city of the Chabahar would lead to a new chapter in relations of two countries.”
Chabahar port importance for India very much not only economically but also strategically. Economically India’s desire to establish urea plant "If urea plant is set up there, it will result in slashing of urea prices in India by 50 per cent and cut on huge subsidy on urea, which is Rs 80,000 crore," Nitin Gadkari said. Iran wants Indian companies invest in Iran, according to Indian sources almost 2,000 crores investment can be possible in Iran in various sectors. India’s export to Iran almost doubles in the past two years almost $4 billion. According to Michael Kugelman, South Asia expert at the Washington-based Woodro Wilson Centre says that if the development of the port goes according to plan, then we will see the creation of new trade routes stretching from the northern reaches of Central Asia downs to Chabahar, in southern Iran. And Afghanistan will be more benefit the most from the project as trade volumes from the war-torn country to markets in Europe and the Middle East could soar exponentially. Initially India will invest about $85 million to construct container and multi-purpose terminals. But Mr. Gadkari recently said India may invest in Chabahar port almost 2 lakh crores.
Chabahar port located in the Gulf of Oman and it is only Iranian port to direct access to ocean. Chabahar port also reduces the pressure on Bandar Abbas port. Iran’s Bandar Abbas port is for Russia and Europe and Chabahar port for Afghanistan and Central Asian countries. Actually, world’s 30% of the oil ships and 20% oil traded through the Strait of Hormuz Iran’s relation with America not remain a fruitful no doubt that sanction are over but anytime relation can deteriorate. So, that time Chabahar port will remain unaffected. Chabahr port will give the Central Asia markets and India direct link to the Afghan’s major cities (Herat, kandhar, Kabul and Mazar –e-sharif). Afghanistan is a land locked country. Pakistan does not allow using Pak soil for India to enter Afghanistan. As well as the Afghanistan –Pakistan Trade and Transit Agreement allow Afghan trucks to carry cargo to Pakistan ports and wagah border but the trucks have to go empty when it back to Afghanistan this increase the cost of goods. India-built Zaranj-Delaram road in Afghanistan will connect to the Chabahar port via Milak. Iran with financial aid from India is upgrading the Chabahar-Milak road. Afghanistan has rich amount of natural resources according to U.S geological survey Afghanistan has the estimated $3 trillion worth of mineral resources. India’s economic development government needs these natural resources. India exports to Iran like rice, machines, iron-steel, pharmaceuticals, textiles and tea.
Strategically Chabahar port is very important for India too because Pakistan already its Gwadar port handed over to China. This is a part of China’s ‘string of pearls’ strategy to encircle India. When Iran’s foreign minister came to India he said “Iran considered India its strategic partner and could never forget the, support India extended to Iran during its difficult times.”
Chabahar port’s distance from Kabul almost 1840 kilometres. And India wants to play bigger game through the port India investing huge amount of money to success this project. Pakistan fear that India’s involvement in chabahar will bring very near to Baluchistan, India always support morally to Baluch brothers and sisters. Ziad Haider, a researcher at the South Asian program at the Henry L. Stimson centre, “Pakistan can make the Gwadar project succeed if it maintains the financial and political support of China for the project and if it makes some concessions to the Baluchi’s near Gwadar port, who have already carried out deadly attacks on Chinese engineers. Both India and China wants to close ties with Afghanistan. And of course economic tie-up definitely gives the future shape of relation with Afghanistan. If we compare Pakistan and Iran who is well definitely Iran is a good country with relation with Afghanistan and it is more stable compare to Pakistan.
“Although there are no signs of any significant India-Iranian naval cooperation, commercial maritime cooperation and joint transportation infrastructure development has elevated the level of Indo-Iranian strategic cooperation.” Harsh V. Pant, the Washington Quarterly,(2011) . But it is not necessary India’s position will remain same in future because India many times complaints that in Gwadar port PLA has existence.
Chabahar port is a link between India and Iran positive for the both nations. Economically India can reduce the urea subsidy India an agriculture dominant country. When port will operationalize almost 50% of urea cost will decrease. And the transportation trade route will also decrease. India also gets bigger market of Iran and Central Asia as well as Iran also gets the safest route through a port. Stragically India can counter Pakistan and Chinese increasing activities through Gwadar port. India can keep eagle eye on ISIS and Pakistan supported terrorist outfits.
Views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of FORE INDIA

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