oppn parties US Threat Of Sanctions Over Chahabar Port Deal Changes Its Past Position

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US Threat Of Sanctions Over Chahabar Port Deal Changes Its Past Position

By A Special Correspondent
First publised on 2024-05-17 06:26:42

The US has taken cognizance of the long-term deal India has signed with Iran for managing the Chabahar port. The US state department has said that anyone dealing with Iran must be ready to face consequences. The US had advised other countries in the past against dealing with Iran over its alleged attempts to go nuclear. Hence, the state department is of the view that India's deal violates that advice and India needs to be aware of potential risk of US sanctions.

But there is a difference. India has been managing the Chabahar port on a yearly renewable agreement for the last five years. India Port Global Limited (IPGL) has been managing the Shahid Behesti terminal at Chabahar since December 24, 2018. The agreement was renewed every year. The US knows about this and has not frowned upon the arrangement in the past or talked about sanctions regarding that. But this time, India has inked a 10-year deal for further developing the terminal and managing it.

This long term arrangement was necessary in order to make substantial investments in upgrading the facility. India has pledged to invest more than $100mn to upgrade the terminal. After all, it does not make sense to invest if there remains uncertainty over the extension of the yearly agreement. Since Chabahar port is strategic to India in bypassing the land route over Pakistan for shipment of goods to Afghanistan, India has a huge stake in developing and managing it.

India's view, as stated by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, is that since the US knew about India's long association with the Chahabar port. The US had recognized the larger relevance of the port and had appreciated India's stand in the past. Hence, he argued, it should not take a "narrow view" now as the port had larger relevance for the entire region. He stressed that India would have signed a long-term pact earlier but there were problems on the Iranian side. Since the problems have been sorted now and since India wants to develop the facility further, it has just converted the yearly arrangement into a long term one. No one should be agitated about that.