China evades comment on Chabahar port launch in Iran

All you need to know

According to The Economic Times, Tehran has offered New Delhi a proposal to manage phase one of the Chabahar Port. China is now developing the Gwadar Port in Pakistan which is also 100 kms away from the Chabahar port. 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.

With the opening of the port, Indian goods are now anticipated to reach Central Asian markets.

On the coasts of Makran, the port of Chabahar has a very good capacity for development; this port is considered the only oceanic port of the country, and access to the port has led to the release of water from the countries of Central Asia, India, China, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and European countries.

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.

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The corridor is being eyed as an increasingly important one for its linkage to resource-rich regional countries. United States sanctions on Iran during the Presidency of George Bush slowed down progress. On a deal between Iran and six major world powers restricting Tehran's nuclear programme in exchange for lifting sanctions, Trump had commented that it was "the worst deal ever negotiated". New Delhi got Afghanistan included in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) in 2007 in a bid to ensure connectivity among all countries in South Asia and in the grouping was established but Pakistan did not play ball. Restrictions on trade between United States and Europe to Iran continue and are credited to issues such as human rights and terrorism. There has been no sign of any military cooperation, that might be of concern to the US. India sent 11 lakh tonnes of wheat through Chabahar to Afghanistan in October this year. This was even before the route was officially inaugurated, and was monitored via video conferencing by the External Affairs ministers from both sides, Sushma Swaraj and Salahuddin Rabbani, indicating the importance of the route.

Pakistan's Gwadar outflanks Iran's Chabahar in myriad terms. Chabahar is also connected to the International North South Corridor (INSTC).

Pakistan has also made it overtly clear to China that Gwadar venture is purely based on shared economic interests. That may hurt the Chabahar project.

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