According to reports, India is attempting to save Chabahar Port from the pact being signed between Iran and China. Rajnath Singh, the Indian Defence Minister recently traveled to Moscow, Russia for a three-day business visit. The purpose of this visit was to attend the SCO Summit. However, he did not return to New Delhi straight away after the visit was over. According to sources, Rajnath Singh made an unscheduled visit to Tehran, Iran. This unscheduled visit was paid to meet the Brigadier General of Iran, Amir Hatami.
Will the deal between Iran and China affect India’s Chabahar Port?
News analysts suggest that the reason behind this unscheduled visit was to secure Chabahar Port. As per reports, China and Iran are in the process of signing an economic and strategic pact that is worth $400 billion. However, India wants that Chabahar Port is not impacted by this deal between India and Iran. This was the sole purpose of Rajnath Singh’s surprise visit to Iran. This surprise visit was followed by S. Jaishankar, the Indian External Affairs Minister visiting Tehran. In a tweet, he stated, “A productive meeting with FM @JZarif during a stopover in Tehran. Discussed strengthening our bilateral cooperation and reviewed regional developments. Thank him for his gracious hospitality.”
Unscheduled visits are usually greeted with suspicion. A statement written in a tweet by Rajnath Singh’s office stated, “Both the Defence Ministers discussed ways to take forward bilateral cooperation and exchanged views on regional security issues, including peace and stability in Afghanistan.” While Rajnath Singh himself has revealed to the press that he had a “very fruitful” exchange of dialogues with the Iranian minister. The meeting is said to have taken place in a “cordial and warm atmosphere”.
Woes of India
It is no secret that relations between China and India are suffering. However, Iran’s diplomatic relations with Beijing have blossomed in recent years. Iran and China are planning on securing a proposed mega-deal with the aim to strengthen economic and security partnerships. The deal is said to be worth $400 billion, this has attracted considerable attention from all around the globe, and especially by India.
The plan is said to be spread over a period of 25 years. It will allow President Xi Jinping to tap into Iran’s oil and gas resources. In exchange, China will offer assistance in the field of information, technology, agriculture industry, tourism and telecom. This will provide China with immense power to tap into Iran’s affairs. India fears that this deep involvement of China in Iran’s affairs will create distance between India and Tehran.
Another pressing concern for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is that China is likely to make use of its influences in order to iron out the bilateral differences between Iran and Pakistan. India fears that this move will further isolate it from the middle east.