Chabahar Port

The port of Chabahar is a sea port which is located in Chabahar, on the Gulf of Oman in southeastern Iran. It serves as the only seaport in Iran and consists of two separate ports called Shahid Beheshti and Shahid Kalantari. Both of these ports have five berths each. The development of the port was first proposed in the year 1973 by the last Shah of Iran. The development of this port was delayed due to the Iranian Revolution which occurred in the year 1979. The first phase of the port was opened during the Iran-Iraq war in the year 1983 when Iran began shifting maritime trade eastward toward the Pakistani border to reduce dependence on Persian Gulf ports due to it being vulnerable to attacks by the air force of Iraq.

India’s involvement in Chabahar Port

In the month of December, 2018 India took over port operations. The India Ports Global Private Limited (IPGPL) operated this port. The first shipment of wheat from India to Afghanistan was shipped through the port of Chabahar. India began building a railway line between the port of Zahedan and Chabahar as a part of the north-south corridor for transportation. The port of Chabahar is located about 170 km from the port of Gwadar built by China in Pakistan.

Importance of Chabahar Port for India

India can completely bypass Pakistan through this post when it transports goods to and fro from Afghanistan. This port will also improve India’s access to Iran which is the main gateway to the North-South International Transport Corridor thus providing rail, sea and road routes between Russia, India, Iran, Central Asia and Europe. This port also helping India counter the presence of China in the Arabian Sea, as China is trying to secure this sea route by providing assistance to Pakistan in the development of the port of Gwadar.

With the port of Chabahar being operated and developed by India, Iran also becomes India’s military ally. Chabahar could be used in case China chooses to play its marine muscles by parking ships in the port of Gwadar to gain an advantage in the Indian Ocean, the Middle East and the Persian Gulf. With the opening of the Chabahar port, imports of sugar, iron ore and rice to India will increase significantly. The costs of importing oil to India will also decrease significantly. India has already increased its purchases of crude oil from Iran since the West lifted the Iran ban. From a diplomatic point of view, the port of Chabahar could be used as a place from which coordination of humanitarian operations could also be done.

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