A great geopolitical game is continued. It’s India vs Pak-China alliance. Pakistan is trying every trick in the book to fulfil its CPEC dreams. India’s ace in the hole Chabahar port is shattering Pakistan’s dreams.
External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar met Foreign Ministers of China, Pakistan, Russia, and central Asian countries at the SCO meeting held in Tashkent on Friday. During the meeting, India pushed for Chabahar port to be a channel for trade to central Asia which shattered Pakistan’s China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) dreams.
Jaishankar’s push for Chabahar port
At the SCO, India emphasised the use of Iran’s Chabahar port which is financed by India. Meanwhile, Pakistan promoted the CPEC– the crown jewel of BRI for trans-regional trade which is China’s project to increase its influence in the Indian Ocean region. Notably, the project passes through PoK violating India’s sovereignty.
India highlighted the importance of the inclusive connectivity link – Chabahar port for Central Asian States besides Afghanistan to connect with the Indian Ocean Region. Meanwhile, Pakistan emphasised on Afghanistan’s entry into CPEC. India, however, is opposing the proposal as it violates the country’s sovereignty.
At the meet, EAM S Jaishankar highlighted India’s support to Afghan people with vaccines, wheat and medicines and also welcomed Iran’s entry in the SCO underlining that SCO members could use Chabahar port.
Uzbekistan’s state-run Dunyo information agency quoted Jaishankar as sayingthat Iran’s entry into SCO would strengthen the grouping’s influence on the world market as its members “will have the opportunity to use the facilities of the Chabahar port”.
Pakistan’s CPEC dreams
The China Pakistan Economic Corridor was supposed to be a shining jewel which highlights the success of Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative. Ever since the project was announced, it has continued to hog the limelightfor all the wrong reasons.
However, the project has become too much economically and even politically expensive for Pakistan. The country is in a state of recession. Thus, these countries have become desperate for their CPEC initiative.
It needs to be noted that Pakistan was equally desperate for CPEC as it was the last shot when it comes saving the country’s sinking economy. Through CPEC, Pakistan was also dreaming of cornering India in the region as it passed through Pakistan occupied Kashmir and Balochistan.
But why the CPEC and the Gwadar port are at the core of China’s investment? Well, Beijing wants to reach Middle East, African and European markets directly through road and rail travel to the Gwadar port. Pakistan also wants Gwadar port to turn into a trade hub as it will be beneficial for Pakistan’s economy and trade relations.
Chabahar Port is the answer for CPEC
You see, China wants to increase its influence in the Indian Ocean region through CPEC. Pakistan and China have allied with each other to counter India and do not want the nation to increase its dominance. India, thus, stepped in with a move to retaliate China’s strategy which is Chabahar port. This is exactly why India started investing in Chabahar port. Last year, India has also proposed to include the Chabahar port in the mega International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC).
The International North-South Corridor (INSTC) is a multi-mode network of ship, rail, and road routes for transporting goods between India, Iran, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Russia, Central Asia, and Europe. The objective of the corridor is to increase trade connectivity between major cities such as Mumbai, Moscow, Tehran, Baku, Bandar Abbas, Astrakhan, Bandar Anzali etc.
By now, you must have understood that Chabahar port plays a crucial foreign policy role for India. This will not only help India to increase its dominance over the region but will also help improve its trade market.
Ultimately, Pakistan’s CPEC dreams will shatter and China will be left empty-handed as its every strategy to counter India is going to fall flat on its face.
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