In fresh inputs now available in open source domains, China and Iran are on course to chalk out
a comprehensive 25 year strategic partnership based on an agreement signed during the visit of
Chinese President Xi Jinping to Teheran in January 2016. Iranian President after the visit had
stated the visit to be beginning of a “new chapter” aimed to build economic ties worth up to $600
billion within the next 10 years. After Iran and China have finalised a $400 billion strategic
partnership deal, India has lost the key project of the Chabahar to Zahedan rail project. In 2016,
when Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Iran, he signed the rail project deal with
Tehran for fast-paced access to Afghanistan, Russia and Central Asian States. Apparently, India
has succumbed to the US sanctions imposed on Iran as it has already called off its oil imports
deals with Iran. The US had exempted the Chabahar port and the railway line to Zahedan from
sanctions. Now, Iran says it will build with its own resources the 628km Chabahar-Zahedan line,
which will be extended to Zaranj across the border in Afghanistan. India may face some other
setbacks too in the coming days as China has finalised the 25-year $400bn strategic partnership
deal with Iran. Given the gradually diminishing autonomy under the US pressure, and China’s
increasing role in Iran, India’s landmark project of Chabahar Port may go to the Chinese hands.
Iran, however, denied the reports giving the impression that Iran will lease the port to China.
Though India has yet to officially announce the lost opportunity, the development was reported
by The Hindu, a leading Indian paper, which cited “leaked versions” of the 18-page
“Comprehensive Plan for Cooperation between Iran and China”.
After the downgraded influence of India in Iran and the growing role of China, there is an
opportunity for Pakistan. According to the leaked documents, Iran has suggested an agreement
between Pakistan’s port Gwadar and Chabahar. This may infuriate India, which attaches a great
deal of geostrategic importance to the Chabahar port project as it connects India to Russia and
Central Asia for rapid connectivity and trade. Pakistan, Iran and China may work out the plan, as
India may see it a no-go area. Meanwhile, India should reflect its actions and the results. In
recent years, it has lost neighbors’ confidence because of its plan to create hegemony in the
region. It lost its troopers after a clash with the Chinese troops in the Galwan Valley. It has been
snubbed by Gulf states for persecution of the Muslim minority. Regardless of the reasons for
India’s inability to join the railway project, the decision can only be seen as an opportunity lost.
In fact, China has gained from India’s loss in Iran and this serves a bitter lesson to Delhi.
This massive development may infuriate India, which attaches a great deal of geostrategic
importance to the Chabahar port project as it connects India to Russia and Central Asia
for rapid connectivity and trade. Pakistan, Iran and China may work out the plan, as India
may see it a no-go area.
According to Beijing's defence ministry, Chinese troops will go to Russia to actually participate in joint military exercises. Strong defence...Read more