By Mujeeb Ullah.
The Iranian port, known as the Chabahar, is seen as the ultimate strategic and ponderous economic hub in the near days. Its location is nearer to the Gulf of Oman, the southern-eastern Iran recently attracted many international players from abroad. In the past, the port was slothful due to many political instabilities in Iran, ranging from Shah of Iran regime to Kumauni’s Iranian revolution; the cleric revolution, in order to connect herself with the rest of the region; to India, Afghanistan and the other Central Asian countries, like Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan as well. But, finally the fortune favored the Chabahar, back in the 1983 era also known as the era of stable Iran and particularly in 2016, when Iran-India signed bilateral trade agreements. Both countries raised millions of dollars to enlarge its capacity which stands at 2.1 million tons annual cargo tonnage, which clearly indicates the limited and very little capacity of the Port.
The rapidly improvement of Chabahar has multiple reasons; including worthless behavior of Pakistan due to closing of border gates withy Afghanistan and the blockage of Indian trade and products to Afghanistan. The dual and ambiguous economic policy leads to slap on its own face that cost Pakistan cheaply.
Subsequently, Iran-India-Afghanistan have an extended route, but hunted the Pakistan’s pathway. As India, in the upcoming years depends upon heavily on iron deposits to run the trade smoothly, an secure access to Afghan soil and Central Asia countries will adhere herself to newly constructed port, Chabahar and ultimately it will reduce the Kabul’s dependency on Islamabad. But in the recent international scenario some geo-political changes have had happened due to some severe matters in this region. It will hazy and depressed the intentions of Iran’s Chabahar.
Firstly, Chababar is longer than as Pakistan’s gateway, known as Transit. So, many businessmen among many did not intended to Chabahar. From each and every perspective, the Pakistani gateway is cheaper and shorter. That leaded people to love to hate the Chabahar.
Secondly, in recent years, back in 2015, both China and Pakistan signed a billion dollars agreement; CPEC. In CPEC, the Pakistan Gawadar is playing a game changer role. In the upcoming years, Gawadar will attract the while region as well as easily engulf the Chabahar, due to its near location and the intentions of others states towards Gawadar.
Thirdly, the most sever and chronic situations in Afghanistan; particularly in the nearer regions to Chabahar, like Helmand and Herat. It would ultimately limit the worth outcome of Chabahar as a regional connector. As Taliban had encompassed the region and the upcoming IS factor created the socio-economic and political disturbance in the Afghanistan. It is a very serious threat to depress Chabahar.
Fourthly, in past days, the America shown a serious concern about Iran. In which US got rage and fierce and warn that may sanctions and international pressures would be imposed. Another the Gulf states and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will never be the participant of Chabahar due to their rivalry with Iran. And the China-Pakistan blog and their stance over Chabahar is fully clear. So in these circumstance Chabahar would be in tough situations.
Finally, Chabahar got a small size as well as the Iran-India tussles over many aspects of Chabahar would impact the whole stuff of project.
As I have to overcome with Sadiq Khan, the London mayor, once said that we have to make bridges, not walls. The Chabahar should not be a threat to others and to be not considered the CPEC’s counter, rather it is a way of prosperity to the whole region. No one should impose their evils ideas to dam the Chabahar.
NOTE: The views and opinions expressed in this article are of the writer and do not reflect the policy of The Weekly Pakistan.
Mujeeb Ullah is a student of International Relations at International Islamic University, Islamabad.