Chabahar Port – UPSC GS2

Where is Chabahar port?
  • It is located on the Makran coast, Chabahar in South Eastern Iran.
  • Its location lies in the Gulf of Oman.
  • This coast is a relatively underdeveloped free trade and industrial zone, especially when compared to the sprawling port of Bandar Abbas further west.
  • Also, it is the only Iranian port with direct access to the ocean.

Significance of Chabahar Port:
  • Strong India-Iran Relations: Development of Chabahar port will boost the maritime trade between India and Iran.
  • Gateway to Central Asia: The port has strategic advantage and high potential to provide connectivity of India to Iran, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and other Central Asian countries.
  • Security: The port is also beneficial to India in countering Chinese presence in the Arabian Sea which China is trying to ensure by helping Pakistan develop the Gwadar port.
  • INSTC: The port is also seen as a feeder port to the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) that has sea, rail and road routes between India, Russia, Iran, Europe, and Central Asia.
  • Counter to Gwadar Port: It is located 76 nautical miles (less than 150km) west of the Pakistani port of Gwadar, being developed by China. This makes it ideal for keeping track of Chinese or Pakistani military activity based out of Gwadar
  • The port will allow India to bypass Pakistan to transport goods to Afghanistan and Central Asia using a sea-land route.
  • Chabahar Port lies in the Persian Gulf in Iran and will help India in expanding its maritime commerce in the region

Trilateral Agreement:
  • India, Iran and Afghanistan sign three-way land transit agreement on Iran’s strategic southern port of Chabahar.
  • Under the agreement, India will invest up to 500 million dollars in a deal to develop a strategic port in Iran.
  • It can spur unhindered flow of commerce throughout the region and its economic fruits will expand trade, attract investment, build infrastructure, develop industry and create jobs.
  • India will get sea-land access route to Afghanistan bypassing Pakistan which will open opportunities for Indian companies to explore Afghanistan’s mineral wealth.
US Sanctions:
  • US has imposed unilateral sanctions on Iran after pulling out of P5+1 deal.
  • US is also threatening other nations who imports oil from Iran and have links with Iran.
  • India is looking for an exception on the Chabahar project as it is strategically important to India.
  • US had granted an exception for the development of Chabahar port.
New India-Afghanistan Trade route launched:
  • Afghanistan has launched a new export route to India through the Chabahar Port of Iran.
  • This route allows both India and Afghanistan to engage in trade bypassing Pakistan.

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