In a bold move, India is trying to make Chabahar port in Iran operational by 2019. This development has been confirmed by the government in a statement on Friday. This move has been taken despite a threat of renewed US sanctions against Iran.
The Indian-backed Chabahar port is critical and strategically placed as it forms part of a new transportation corridor for landlocked Afghanistan. This could open up the way for trade of millions of dollars in the region. In a big jolt for Pakistan, Afghanistan would no longer be dependent on it.
US president Donald Trump had withdrawn from the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran earlier this year. He had also announced that he would reimpose sanctions on Iran, which had been lifted as a part of the 2015 agreement. This unilateral withdrawal by the US will have far-reaching effects on the US economy. Trump also threatened to penalize financial institutions for doing business with Iran. It became clear that it would be almost impossible for anyone anywhere in the world to continue their business with Iran without risk of violating US sanctions.
The announcement of India trying to make the strategic Chabahar Port in Iran was made by the Union Transport and Shipping Minister, Nitin Gadkari. He was on a two day visit to Tajikistan to represent India in the global conference on “International Decade for Action: Water for Sustainable Development”.
Mr. Gadkari was addressing the Indian community at the inauguration of the Swami Vivekananda Cultural Centre at the Indian Embassy in Dushanbe. In his statement, Gadkari made it clear that India is trying to make the port operational by 2019 and that it would make the CIS countries more accessible. He also spoke about the efforts and initiatives taken by the NDA government in the last four years. Speaking about the massive work in the area of infrastructure sector, he stated that national highways are being built at an unprecedented pace of 28 kilometers per day. He further said that India’s image and respect has grown across the world in the last four years and that our rankings have improved globally on various counts like ease of doing business, cleanliness, etc.
Chabahar port is strategically placed for India. And how India has moved ahead to safeguard its interest shows that India being the emerging economic power, it does not get bogged down by anyone. Even though it is very much within the rights of the Trump administration to reimpose sanctions on Iran, it does not make much sense for others to forgo their interest in the region. Earlier, India had announced retaliatory tariffs to the tune of worth $ 240 million on a list of 30 items against the United States. This was done to counter the unilateral hike in duties by the United States on Indian steel and aluminium. India’s stern foreign policies are a testimony to its rise on the global arena. Now, the announcement of making the Chabahar port operational by next year despite US threats, marks India’s emergence as a significant global power.