Why Chabahar Port Is Important For India in 2021
With India moving a little closer to building some kind of a trade relation with Iran, it is making sense it to ask for the Chabahar port to be added in the international north-south corridor. According to confirmed reports, the Chabahar port terminal is operated by an Indian state-run firm. It is now acting as a key part of India’s plans to enhance connectivity to Afghanistan and the Central Asian states.
The international corridor or the International North South Transport Corridor (INSTC) is said to be a 7200km multi-mode route spanning 13 countries. The Centre has also called for Uzbekistan and Afghanistan to be made part of the corridor.
The Chabahar Port is ironically one of the few movements by India that has not received US sanctions, unlike any other movement that would be pertaining to Iran. The intent of inclusion was clearly spelled out by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and minister of state for shipping Mansukh Mandaviya, who were addressing the virtual “Chabahar Day” event organised on the margins of the Maritime India Summit 2021.
With this movement, India is coming closer into a new power circuit that does not include China and America for the first time. There is a reason why the US might have decided not to sanction India now, as it serves its purpose of keeping the Chinese power at bay.
The INSTC project comprises India, Iran, Russia, Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz republic, Tajikistan, Oman, Syria and Ukraine. The project was first proposed in 2000 to cut costs and time in moving cargo and to improve connectivity in the region between Russia and the Central Asian states and India.
The commitment of creating this corridor improves trade movement for all the 13 nations involved, something that becomes most desirable post-pandemic recovery period. According to official reports, India has made extensive use of the port to transport humanitarian aid in the coronavirus times. In a formal statement made by S. Jaishankar, he said that India utilized the Chabahar port to ship 75,000 tonnes of wheat as humanitarian food assistance to Afghanistan in September 2020.