May 18, 2024 13:52 UTC
  • Chabahar Golden Gate: Why is the US scared of expansion of India's power in Asia?

Pars Today- India has signed a 10-year agreement for development and exploitation of Iran's strategic port of Chabahar. New Delhi intends to increase its commercial ties with the Central Asian countries and Afghanistan and open a new route to Caucasus, West Asia and East Europe.

The Indian Minister of Ports, Shipping and Waterways, Sarbananda Sonowal, said about Iran-India cooperation on Chabahar, "This [port] acts as a vital trade artery which joins India with Afghanistan and the Central Asian countries."

But, this agreement has caused the United States to threaten [Iran and India] with sanctions.

Iran and India started their talks on this project in 2003 for the first time, but the US pressures against the expansion of Indian relations with Iran impeded the occurrence of any real development. Tehran and Delhi, after the reduction of Washington's sanctions based on the nuclear agreement in 2015, resumed the negotiations.

Why is Chabahar important?

India with its prosperous $600 billion industry, wishes to have close trade with its neighbors in the West. India, via Chabahar, can carry its commodities first to Iran, and then through railway or road networks, to Afghanistan and the land-surrounded yet resource-rich countries such as Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. One of the Indian officials has even spoken of reaching Russia via this route.

Kabir Taneja, a member of the Observer research think-tank, based in New Delhi, said, "For India, Chabahar is a kind of golden gate for further investment opportunities in the West and Central Asia."

At the moment, this port builds up an important part of the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) whose aim is the cheaper and faster connection of large cities such as the Indian financial center, Mumbai, and the Capital of Azerbaijan, Baku; and also the Central Asian capitals via Iran.

The US and sanctioning India

The US has twice- in 1974 and 1998- enforced sanctions against India after the execution of nuclear tests by New Delhi.

But, since the end of the Cold War, the US managed to draw India towards itself. Although India officially does not recognize any sanction enforced on countries, unless they are approved by the UN, in many cases, it is forced to capitulate to the American pressures.

The US' fear of development of India's ever-increasing power

India is one of the fastest growing economies in the world. It is a country that, despite its population and situation in the old continent, is highly capable- like China- of distancing from the US and the West and turning into a major global player. This is the point which, according to some people, is very horrible for the US; hence, the latter is resorting to any stratagem to close the ways of the independent India's influence in the world.

The American sanctions against Iran have already struck India and disturbed its long-term influence. Refusing to buy Iran's oil, in order to prevent the American sanctions, have also made India more vulnerable, compared to its rival China, against price pressures of other suppliers.

If the United States tries to play hard with regards to Chabahar, according to analysts, it indicates a great opportunity which this golden gate can provide for India's big leap.

Now, the US has two big rivals in Central Asia, namely, Russia and China, and it is not desirable for it to have India as a new rival in the region.

Indian analyst, Taneja has said, "Chabahar is more important and New Delhi is inclined to try to keep it alive in the long-run.

Sarang Shidore, Director of the Global South Program at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, a Washington-based think-tank, said, "The Global South countries, despite Washington's preference to converge them with its strategic goals, will continue their course seeking their own interests. Washington, too, should reassess its policies which impose options onto the Global South that can make them alien to this Western country and restrict the US opportunities in this broad space which is mostly devoid of convergence."

Key phrases: importance of Chabahar, Iran and India relations, Iran and India power, Iran and India interaction