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India responds to irk US over India-Iran Deal for Chabahar port

This week remained dynamic as the global politics is everchanging; and is run by everchanging objectives. Nations connect and disconnect with each other at bilateral as well as multilateral levels depending on the concurrent international situations. We live in a complex world where complex interdependence keeps altering the priorities of nations and vice versa. However, […]

This week remained dynamic as the global politics is everchanging; and is run by everchanging objectives. Nations connect and disconnect with each other at bilateral as well as multilateral levels depending on the concurrent international situations. We live in a complex world where complex interdependence keeps altering the priorities of nations and vice versa. However, in this changing world, if something remains constant, it is the national interest of a nation. It not only decides and devises foreign policies of nations, it also works as north star in the everchanging global situations. Considering the same, this week, India and Iran signed a long-term deal for Chabahar port. Despite having a superb strategic partnership with India, the US is irked with this development, and has warned that any nation involving in any business dealings with Tehran faces the potential risk of sanctions. Indian External Affairs Minister has responded very aptly to this intimidation from the US. On the other hand, people are protesting in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) against the government for inflation, rising cost of food, fuel and other utilities. This has led to the death of a police official and many injured.

This week, India Ports Global Ltd and the Ports and Maritime Organisation of Iran signed a long-term Bilateral Contract on Chabahar Port, allowing the operation of the Shahid Beheshti Port terminal in the Chabahar Port Development Project for 10 years. Both the nations were already working on this strategic project already. However, this move has raised concerns in the US, leading it to send threats of sanctions against India. In response, Indian External Affairs Minister, Dr. S. Jaishankar has emphasized that the Chabahar Port project in Iran will have positive impacts across the entire region. He urged people not to adopt a narrow perspective on this matter following warnings from the US regarding potential sanctions after India’s agreement for running the port for a decade. The Minister highlighted that even the US had previously acknowledged Chabahar’s broader significance. The Chabahar Port deal represents a strategic move by India to ensure neutrality and prosperity in the region while containing the manoeuvrings of China to attain its control in the region.

It is evident that China wishes to establish its control at the strategic points in the Indian Ocean Region and Arabian Sea for which it has already established its bases at few strategic points like in Gwadar, Pakistan, which is significant considering the oil transit through strait of Malacca in the Indian Ocean Region. Also, China is investing adequate amount of money in to Afghanistan (read: Taliban) in the name of developing economic corridor as in its ‘Belt and Road Initiative’ in the region, and this is worrisome. Belt and Road Initiative, also known as the New Silk Road, was initiated in 2013 by President Xi Jinping to link Asia and Europe through physical infrastructure. Now it has expanded to Africa and Latin America too increasing China’s strategic, economic and political influence. China is trying hard to establish its monopoly in the world. In the name of developing the so-called economic corridor, it has already apprehended strategically important locations in Pakistan and now eying Afghanistan. Taliban too needs an investor and ally like China. It is a matter of great concern for rest of the world as this concoction will certainly pose challenges to global peace and security. India picked up Chabahar Port to contain this, while promoting multilateral trade, and the US knows it. Why the US is not looking at the larger goal remains the pertinent question.

On the other hand, Pakistan’s economy is facing a big crisis despite the change in government. Inflation, unemployment and foreign debts are on all-time high in Pakistan, and people are protesting to get some relief. The current situation in PoK is highly volatile due to people’s anger over increased electricity tariffs, tax burdens, and high inflation. People have expressed their frustration by engaging in violent street protests this week against the soaring cost of living. These demonstrations serve as a bleak reflection of the persistent human rights abuses in the region. PoK activist Amjad Ayub Mirza has also called upon the Indian government to intervene and provide assistance to bail them out from this crisis situation. “The whole of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir has been shut down by peaceful protesters who are being beaten up and shot at by the Pakistan police, Punjab police etc. India now should focus all its attention on Pakistan-occupied Jammu and Kashmir and help and facilitate the independence of this occupied territory, including Gilgit-Baltistan,” Mirza stated. While giving his response, Dr. S. Jaishankar addressed the ongoing violent demonstrations in PoK, emphasizing India’s firm stance that the region is an integral part of India. Of course, these protesters are looking forward to India as they can clearly see how people are progressing and want to live the same kind of life.

All the problems can be sorted out with the right mindset. The leaders need to adopt ‘team play’ mode to save their respective nations from the crisis they are facing. This is what India is presenting as a solution, collaborate and grow! I hope the leaders would understand.

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