Why is India Nervous with Chinese Investments in Iran’s Chabahar Port?

India-China Conflict has been intensifying since the Doklam issue. But why has Iran’s Chabahar Port started to strain India-China Relations? With Iran turning to China to economically stabilize the Chabahar Port, New Delhi seems to be nervous. Will this move on Chabahar Port impact India-China Ties and India-Iran Relations?  

India-China ties are deepened by many factors and recent events; the Iranian Chabahar Port may become the most recent bone of contention. In 2003, India committed to the development of the Chabahar Port, only a few miles away from Tehran, with over 500 million dollars. However, with delays on behalf of India, Iran may turn to China to carry on with the development and construction plans for the Iranian port.

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Last month the FM of Iran stated that both India and China will be welcomed to invest and develop the Chabahar Port. Since India has been unable to make any progress with the construction of the Chabahar Port, it is only practical for Iran to turn to China to ensure the economic success of the port. However, this could be a great loss for India and heighten their worries of China’s military expansion in the Indian ocean. With the Gwadar port successfully completed, India already worries about China’s expanding military power and bases.

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Experts believe, that if China makes any investment at the Chabahar Port, it would weaken India’s influence on the port and local authorities. This could also allow China a direct surveillance over activities carried out by India.

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Although China has made no official statement or confirmed to the offer made by Iran if China does agree it could deepen the India-China tensions. On the other hand, this could also hasten the construction and development of the Chabahar Port.

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China already has a lot of influence in Iran and has successfully completed many projects in the region. China’s ally, Pakistan, has also reacted pleasantly to the offer. Iran and Pakistan are already in talks of linking the two ports – Gwadar and Chabahar Port- with a ferry service between the two.

As for Iran, the main focus is the development of Chabahar port as it serves as a significant place for trading in the Gulf of Oman. Iran has no intentions of amplifying the India-China tensions, but its own economic needs and success take priority.

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