Last couple of years have been a roller coaster ride for India, as India has experienced so many challenges from neighboring countries. Be it String of Pearls strategy of China which has a lone objective of encircling India and use the Friendly Nations to exert pressure on India or to create a situation of blockade in any future confrontation. On other hand Pakistan was a pain area for India for a long time and it was thwarting any sincere efforts of India in normalizing Afghanistan.
Even Indian Political Leadershipwas clueless, as how to counter this joint strategy. Though some action was started in Vajpayee Government when Indian government expressed its interest in constructing Chabahar port in Iran. This port will provide India an uninterrupted access to Middle Asia and also it may provide an opportunity to trap Pakistan from three sides. However the entire process was moving with snail’s pace during UPA Government.
However in last 3-4 years the process has been started moving in the right direction. India has signed the Chabahar port agreement and also India has become a part of Road Network which will connect Iran with Russia. It will be a massive strategic advantage for India in a long run, as it is seen as an India’s answer to China’s OBOR.
Now the big news which we have got from some credible sources is that India is all set to start exporting to Afghanistan via the Chabahar port within two weeks. India is planning to ship 35,000 containers of wheat to Afghanistan via the Iranian port in next two weeks.
From Chabahar, the shipments will be transported to Milak, a border city on the Afghan border, through road route.
“In the first phase, 7,500 containers will be shipped,” Iranian news agency IRNA quoted SakinehAshrafi, an official at Sistan-Baluchistan Governorate.
The Chabahar port is yet to be fully developed and the work is going on to equip this port with world class infrastructure.On the eve of his visit to Iran, Union Minister Nitin Gadhkari last week said that the Chabahar port will become operational by 2018, however small shipments can be moved until it is fully operational.
India, Iran and Afghanistan inked a trilateral deal last year to develop the Chabahar port and use it as a hub for transit of goods from India to landlocked Afghanistan. “India and Iran have historically shared special ties…We are keen on developing Chabahar Port and are hopeful of starting operations in 12 to 18 months,” said Gadhkari.
The Chabahar port holds strong strategic significance for India as New Delhi views it as an answer to the Gwadar port which China and Pakistan are developing as part of Beijing’s ambitious One Belt, One Road initiative.