Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Monday, December 10th, 2018

Strategic Significance of Chabahar Port for India & Afghanistan International Business Relations

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Strategic Significance of Chabahar  Port for India & Afghanistan  International Business Relations

The Iranian port of Chabahar (previously Bandar Beheshti), directly or indirectly, is situated in the path of some of the some strategic corridors and can be considered as one of the most viatl transit locations for India, Iran & Afghanistan. It is often referred to as the ‘Golden Gate’ to the landlocked Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries and Afghanistan. Chabahar is not only strategically located but has immense potential to connect the business growth centers in South Asia (India), the Middle East (Dubai), Central Asia and Afghanistan. It is close to the mainline shipping routes to Asia and Europe, located on the Makran coast of the Sistan Baluchistan province of Iran and facilitates the transit of goods to northern and southern Afghanistan and the Central Asian Republics from India. The port distance to Milak on the Afghanistan border is 950 km;it is 1,827km to Sarakhs on the Turkmen border; and it is 120 km from the Pakistan border. India and Iran plans touse this port for transshipment to Afghanistan and Central Asia and maintain the BandarAbbas port as a major hub for trade with Russia and Europe. The Chabahar port has 2.5 million metric tons (MT) capacity per annum. Its capacity is expected to go up to 6 million MT per year in the first phase, going up to 12 and finally to 20 million MT per annum. Natural gas is carried to this province through56 pipelines that are expected to reach Chabahar port in about two to three years.
The Chabahar port being one of the India’s main strategic deals that gives route access for India to reach Central Asian markets via Afghanistan. But the ensuring Chabahar port meeting its goals depends to peace and stability in Afghanistan. The port will gear for India connectivity with Afghanistan with the development of the mining sector, the energy sector, the development of rail way sector. India is committed in principle to construct from Hajigak mine of Afghanistan to Chabahar port in Iran will only come about when Indian investment begin to flow. India constructed the DelaramZaranj road and in Afghanistan in 2009 and also invested on100 million USD to operationalize the Chabahar port.
The Export Import between India & Afghanistan dates back to the ancient period, the Treaty of commerce signed between the Royal kingdom of Afghanistan & Republic of India on 4th April 1950 shows that the two sides treat each other as most favored nation in doing business activities. Also the trade agreement between the government of India & government of Republic of Afghanistan signed on in New Delhi on 3rd September 1975, 1978 that clearly show the close relationship of the two nations.  India & Afghanistan had land transit rout before separation of Pakistan from India in 1947. During this almost seven decades India Afghanistan trade relations had many ups and downs. The merchants of both countries were not allowed to use Pakistan land and they had to use either air transport or Bandar -E-Abaas port in Iran which is very far and the cost of products will be very high which both side’s trader cannot compete with those of the Pakistan and Iranian trader in Afghanistan and Indian or Central Asian markets.
Chahbahar Port is a unique opportunity for Afghanistan, India and Iran to boost their business relations and change the equations of the regionin for the favor of peace and regional partnership. It has the potential to link the South Asia (India), the Middle East (Dubai), Central Asia and Afghanistan to the European and the world markets.

Fayazuddin Ghiasi is an emerging writer and can be reached at fghiasi2008@gmail.com

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