The development of Chabahar port in Iran is a commercial enterprise, whereas that of Gwadar port in Pakistan by China is a strategic venture with long term implications on the region, former union minister Manish Tewari has said.
The strategic Gwadar Port in Balochistan province is being built by China under a multi-billion economic corridor. The Chabahar port in Iran is being considered by India, Iran and Afghanistan as a gateway to major opportunities for trade with central Asian countries.
“One thing which needs to be very clearly understood is that Chabahar port is a commercial enterprise and Gwadar port is a strategic military enterprise. There is a distinction between as to why two projects have been conceived,” Tewari said yesterday while addressing an event organised by the South Asia Center of the Atlantic Council, a top American think-tank.
Similarly, the China–Pakistan Economic Corridor is not a connectivity project, the Congress leader asserted, adding that it is a strategic project by which China seeks access to the Arabian Sea and surmount the Straits of Malacca through Gwadar and entire CPEC paradigm. “As such there is no comparison between Gwadar and Chabahar,” he added.
“And if you couple that with the kind of things that the Chinese have been attempting to do in the Indian Ocean, the influence that they’ve been trying to exert on Sri Lanka, with the developments which they are currently playing themselves out in Maldives, it does not go well for the region,” he said.
“And therefore, the United States will have to make some hard choices,” the Congress leader said, indicting that the hard choice is a short-term accommodation with Iran. “Those are the hard conversations which the united needs to start having with itself...,” he said. “And therefore, at some point of time hard decisions and clear choices need to be made,” said Tewari, a distinguished Senior Fellow at the South Asia Center of the Atlantic Council.
Dr. Mohammad H Qayoumi, Chief Advisor to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, said this is for the first time after 100 years that Central Asian countries look at Afghanistan as part of that entity. “We are becoming part of that economic ecosystem,” he said.
“We started an air corridor with New Delhi that has been very successful. We are looking at expanding that to Bombay (Mumbai) this year as well as the United Arab Emirates, Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia and even Indonesia all who have shown interest,” Qayoumi said. At present most of the products from Afghanistan has minimum or no tariff in India.