In Today’s News:
- Iran drops India from the Chabahar rail project.
1. Iran drops India from the Chabahar rail project
In 2016, during the visit of Hon’ble PM of India Shri. Narendra Modi, an MOU was signed between India and Iran for the construction of a rail project from Chabahar to Zahedan. This project is actually India’s commitment to the trilateral agreement between India, Iran, and Afghanistan. This project was proposed to build an alternate trade route to Afghanistan and Central Asia. Now Iran has dropped India from this project citing delay of funds for the project. The development comes as China finalizes a massive 25-year, $400 billion strategic partnership deal with Iran, which could severely affect India’s strategic interests in Iran.
Mains GS2 – International Relations
Significance of Chabahar port to India:
- Chabahar Port is a seaport in southeastern Iran located on the Gulf of Oman.
- India has good trade relations with Afghanistan and other Central Asian countries.
- But Pakistan has been denying transit facilities which were significantly affecting the trade between India, Afghanistan, and other Central Asian Countries.
- In the backdrop of these events, Chabahar port helps India to have trade with Afghanistan and Central Asian Countries without entering Pakistan.
- This Chabahar port has become India’s gateway to Iran, Afghanistan, and other Central Asian Countries.
- The trilateral transit agreement signed by India, Iran, and Afghanistan allows Indian goods to reach Afghanistan through Iran and vice versa.
- India has planned to develop Chabahar port as a counter to Pakistan’s Gwadar Port which is a part of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor(CPEC).
- Chabahar port is to the west of the Gwadar port of Pakistan(less than 150km). This is the main reason why Chabahar port is a strategic place to keep track of Chinese or Pakistan’s military activity in Gwadar.
- Chabahar has significantly reduced the cost of oil being imported to India and has improved the economic ties between India, Iran, and Afghanistan.
- In 2016, India proposed to construct a rail project through India’s Indian Railways Construction Ltd (IRCON) between Chabahar and Zahedan.
- India actually slowed down the project of constructing railways due to the fear of sanctions from the U.S. However, Iran has now dropped India from this project citing delay of funds. This development comes in the wake of China close to signing a 25-year strategic partnership deal with Iran.
- Iran-China deal should be watched carefully by India as it is seriously affecting the strategic ties of India with Iran.
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