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Importance of Chabahar Port

Importance of Chabahar Port- Relevance for UPSC Exam

General Studies II- Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

In News

India pushed for Chabahar port to be a conduit for trade to central Asia during SCO meet in Tashkent

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Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO)

  • The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO)is a permanent intergovernmental international organization.
  • The creation of SCO was announced on 15 June 2001 in Shanghai (China).
  • The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Charter was signed during the St. Petersburg SCO Heads of State meeting in June 2002, and entered into force on 19 September 2003.
  • It was preceded by the Shanghai Five mechanism.
  • The SCO’s official languages are Russian and Chinese.

Historical Background

  • To ensure stability along the borders, the four former Soviet republics held talks with China which led to the creatin of Shanghai Five in 1996.
  • With Uzbekistan joining the organization in 2001, it was renamed as Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.
  • India and Pakistan became members in 2017.

Member Countries

  1. Kazakhstan
  2. China
  3. Kyrgyzstan
  4. Russia
  5. Tajikistan
  6. Uzbekistan
  7. India
  8. Pakistan

Iran has been accepted as the ninth full member of the organisation.

Objectives of SCO

  • Increasing mutual trust among the member states.
  • Promoting effective cooperation in politics, trade, the economy, research, technology and culture, as well as in education, energy, transport, tourism, environmental protection, and other areas.
  • Ensure peace, security and stability in the region.
  • Moving towards the establishment of a democratic, fair and rational new international political and economic order.

Chabahar Port

  • It is located on the Gulf of Oman and is only 72 km away from the Gwadar port in Pakistan which has been developed by China.
  • The port serves as the only oceanic port of Iran and consists of two separate ports named Shahid Beheshti and Shahid Kalantari.

India and the Chabahar-Background

  • A trilateral agreement between India, Iran and Afghanistan sighted the establishment of Transit and Transport Corridor among them using Chabahar port in Iran as one of the regional hubs for sea transportation.
  • As an alternate trade route to Afghanistan and Central Asia, construction of a rail line from Chabahar port to Zahedan, along the border with Afghanistan was proposed.
  • Indian Railways Construction Ltd.(IRCON) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Iranian Rail Ministry to provide all services, superstructure work and financing (around USD 1.6 billion).

Significance for India

  • Connectivity: In future, the Chabahar port and the International North South Transport Corridor (INSTC) will play an important role in Indian connectivity with Russia and Eurasia.
  • Security: With China aggressively pursuing its Belt-Road Initiative (BRI) under the One Belt One Road (OBOR) project. The port can help in countering the Pakistan’s Gwadar Port, which is being developed with Chinese investment
  • Trade: It is a gateway for trade Central Asian countries in the wake of Pakistan denying transit access to India.

Issues

  • In July 2020, citing delays from the Indian side in beginning and funding the project Iran decided to proceed with the rail line construction on its own.
  • India on the other side said that IRCON after completing the inspection was waiting for Iranian side to appoint a nodal authority.

Way Forward

  • India needs to play a balancing act between the USA and Iran and proactively protect its interest in the region.
  • A peaceful extended neighbourhood (Iran-Afghanistan) is not only good for trade and energy security but also plays an important role in India’s aspirations of becoming a superpower and hence India cannot remain confined to South Asia.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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