China evades comment on Chabahar port launch in Iran

China evades comment on Chabahar port launch in Iran

The port will allow India to bypass its neighbour Pakistan and reach land-locked Afghanistan and other Central Asian countries for trade purposes.

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.

The port in Iran's Sistan-Balochistan province on the energy-rich nation's southern coast is easily accessible from India's western coast and is increasingly seen as a counter to Pakistan's Gwadar port, which is being developed with Chinese investment and is located around 80 kms from Chabahar.

The Chabahar port development project was conceived by India and Iran during the previous NDA regime.

According to The Economic Times, Tehran has offered New Delhi a proposal to manage phase one of the Chabahar Port.

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The US President Donald Trump accused Iran of being a threat to countries across the Middle-East.

The port's inauguration comes more than a month after the first consignment of wheat from India to Afghanistan was sent via Chabahar - the first shipment after the trilateral agreement to develop the port as a transport and transit corridor between India, Iran, and Afghanistan was signed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Iranian and Afghan Presidents Rouhani and Ashraf Ghani, respectively, in May 2016.

In the general policies of the Sixth Development Plan of the country, special attention has been paid to the development of the Makran coastlines, and all the organizations and ministries of the country are required to cooperate to this end in the Sixth Development Plan of the country. 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. 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. From now on, India need not rely on Pakistan to get access to Iran and Afghanistan.

India has been criticised for not being part of OBOR, but it says that the objective the China-backed initiative fulfills can be achieved by other means also.

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