Topics covered: India and its neighbourhood- relations. Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.
What to study?
For Prelims: Location of Chabahar port.
For Mains: Significance of the port for India, Challenges to its development.
Context: India, Afghanistan and Iran recently met to discuss the issues in the implementation of Chabahar port in Iran.
This was the second meeting of the Follow-up Committee for implementation of the trilateral Chabahar Agreement between India, Afghanistan and Iran at the level of Joint Secretary/ Director General.
Outcomes of the meet:
- The three countries have decided to open Mormugoa and New Mangalore Port in addition to JNPT, Mundra, Kandla and Cochin as part of designated route under the Chabahar Agreement.
- It was agreed to finalise the protocol to harmonise transit, roads, customs and consular matters. Till that time, the TIR Convention will continue to be used for cargo movement.
The work of the Chabahar port is being conducted by the Port Global Ltd Company.
Where is Chabahar Port?
Located on the Gulf of Oman and is the only oceanic port of the country.
Why Chabahar port is important for India?
- With this, India can bypass Pakistan in transporting goods to Afghanistan.
- It will also boost India’s access to Iran, the key gateway to the International North-South Transport Corridor that has sea, rail and road routes between India, Russia, Iran, Europe and Central Asia.
- It also helps India counter Chinese presence in the Arabian Seawhich China is trying to ensure by helping Pakistan develop the Gwadar port. Gwadar port is less than 400 km from Chabahar by road and 100 km by sea.
- With Chabahar port being developed and operated by India, Iran also becomes a military ally to India. Chabahar could be used in case China decides to flex its navy muscles by stationing ships in Gwadar port to reckon its upper hand in the Indian Ocean, Persian Gulf and Middle East.
- Trade benefits: With Chabahar port becoming functional, there will be a significant boost in the import of iron ore, sugar and rice to India. The import cost of oil to India will also see a considerable decline. India has already increased its crude purchase from Iran since the West imposed ban on Iran was lifted.
- From a diplomatic perspective, Chabahar port could be used as a point from where humanitarian operations could be coordinated.
Sources: the Hindu.