All You Need To Know About 1st-phase Of Chabahar Port
Dec 07 2017 by Desiree Burns
The Chabahar project, the first phase of which was recently inaugurated by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in the presence of representatives from 17 countries, is a significant milestone in global cooperation and opens a new strategic transit route between Iran, India, Afghanistan and other land-locked Central Asian nations.
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. Iran's access to the long coasts of the Persian Gulf, the Oman Sea, the Makran Sea, the Caspian Sea coast has attracted great attention from the major economic producers of the world in recent years, as exemplified by the North-South International Corridor Agreement signed in St. Petersburg by the transport ministers of the three countries of Iran, India and Russian Federation. Chabahar can also be India's answer to China's one belt one road project through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. Furthermore, Iran will never allow India's Central Asian dream to be juxtapositioned vis-à-vis Tehran's regional interests. No wonder then, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, committed an investment of United States dollars 500 million for the development of Chabahar.
Asked how China views the launch of the project, considering that China is investing heavily in Gwadar as part of the United States dollars 50 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang declined to comment on it directly.
After successfully isolating Pakistan internationally on the issue of terrorism, India now has a huge opportunity to make Islamabad irrelevant in terms of promoting trade relations and infrastructure connectivity in the region.
India has already sent its first shipment to Afghanistan via Chabahar. The nuclear deal with Iran signed by the western powers in 2015 improved prospects for the Chabahar project.
China might not take this pill down easily as it has been heavily investing in Gwadar, as part of the Dollars 50 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which it has on lease from Pakistan for a period of 40 years.
In that sense, Chabahar diminishes Pakistan's strategic stranglehold over Afghanistan.
India has been criticised for not being part of OBOR, but it says that the goal the China-backed initiative fulfills can be achieved by other means also.