Pak minister’s presence at Chabahar port opening indicates shift in ties with Iran: Report

The $340 million project was constructed by a Revolutionary Guard-affiliated company, Khatam al-Anbia, the largest Iranian contractor of government construction projects.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks during the inauguration a newly built extension of the port of Chabahar, near the Pakistani border, on the Gulf of Oman, southeastern Iran on December 3.(AP Photo)
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks during the inauguration a newly built extension of the port of Chabahar, near the Pakistani border, on the Gulf of Oman, southeastern Iran on December 3.(AP Photo)
Updated on Dec 11, 2017 06:09 PM IST
Copy Link
Press Trust of India, Islamabad | ByPress Trust of India

The participation of a Pakistani minister at the inauguration of the first phase of Iran’s Chabahar port - even though the country is not part of the strategic project - represents a “significant shift” in the two neighbours’ ties, a media report said on Monday.

As Iranian President Hassan Rowhani inaugurated the first phase of the Chabahar port last week, Pakistan’s minister for ports and shipping Hasil Khan Bizenjo was standing next to him.

“This was no coincidence, as Hasil Khan Bizenjo was asked to stand next to Rowhani in a carefully choreographed move,” the Express Tribune reported regarding the minister’s presence on the occasion despite the fact that Pakistan is not part of the project.

“The objective behind this move was clear - Iran wanted to send a message that it would not allow India or any other country to use Chabahar against Pakistan,” a senior Iranian diplomat reportedly told the daily on condition of anonymity.

Such a firsthand account of close cooperation between Pakistan and Iran is unusual and represents a significant shift in the two neighbours’ ties, which have often been marred by a trust deficit and mutual suspicion, the paper commented.

The turnaround is also important when seen alongside Pakistan’s participation in the Saudi-led counter-terrorism coalition, it said.

Iran, which is not part of the grouping, considers the initiative an attempt to further Saudi Arabia’s agenda in West Asia.

That is one of the reasons that Pakistan has been treading a careful path on the issue as it has the potential to undermine ties with Iran, the report said.

Pakistan, according to official sources, has assured Iran that Islamabad would not become part of an initiative that targets Tehran.

Tehran, in return, has pledged that it would not allow any regional country, including India, to undermine Pakistan’s interests, the report said.

The Chabahar port opens a new strategic route connecting Iran, India and Afghanistan, while bypassing Pakistan, and reflects growing convergence of interests among the three countries.

The port is considered a gateway to golden opportunities for trade by India, Iran and Afghanistan with central Asian countries besides ramping up trade among the three countries in the wake of Pakistan denying transit access to New Delhi.

The port in Iran’s Sistan-Balochistan province on the energy-rich nation’s southern coast is easily accessible from India’s western coast and is increasingly seen as a counter to Pakistan’s Gwadar, which is being developed with Chinese investment and is located around 80 kms from Chabahar.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close Story
QUICKREADS

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • Outgoing Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte sharply criticized Russian leader Vladimir Putin for the killings of innocent civilians in Ukraine, saying while the two of them have been tagged as killers, “I kill criminals, I don’t kill children and the elderly.” 

    'I kill criminals, not kids...': Philippine's Rodrigo Duerte smacks down Putin

    Outgoing Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte sharply criticized Russian leader Vladimir Putin for the killings of innocent civilians in Ukraine, saying while the two of them have been tagged as killers, “I kill criminals, I don't kill children and the elderly.” Duterte, who steps down on June 30 when his turbulent six-year term ends, has presided over a brutal anti-drugs crackdown that has left more than 6,000 mostly petty suspects dead.

  • Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi (REUTERS)

    China hopes UN rights chief's visit will ‘clarify misinformation’

    China's foreign minister told the United Nations' human rights chiefWang Yie hopedMichelle Bachelet'sr landmark visit would help to "clarify misinformation", ahead of her visit to the Xinjiang region. Bachelet is expected to visit the Xinjiang cities of Urumqi and Kashgar on Tuesday and Wednesday as part of a six-day tour -- the first to China by a top UN rights official since 2005.

  • Pakistan Army playing neutral under General Qamar Jawed Bajwa has left the political game open for PM Shehbaz Sharif and ousted PM Imran Khan Niazi.

    Pak headed for instability as Shehbaz’s political and economic woes mount

    Pakistan is headed for long term instability with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif facing a political challenge from his ousted predecessor Imran Khan Niazi in the form of long-march to Islamabad tomorrow amidst free falling Pakistani Rupee and a neutral Pakistan Army. Apparently, the call for the march was primarily for people from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab with parallel protests in Quetta in Balochistan and local protests in Sukkur, Larkana, Hyderabad and Karachi of Sindh Province.

  • Australia’s Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.

    China congratulates Australia's Albanese in hint at thawing ties

    Chinese premier Li Keqiang has sent a congratulatory note to newly elected Australian counterpart Anthony Albanese, Beijing's state media reported, ending a year-long freeze in diplomatic contact between the two countries. China cut off diplomatic and trade channels with Australia in a largely symbolic act of fury last May, following clashes over issues including human rights, espionage and the origins of Covid-19.

  • China’s economy is expected to expand around two per cent this year.

    Cash subsidies, billions in tax cuts - How China plans to boost economy: Report

    China on Monday said it would take 'targeted steps' to revive and support the world's second largest economy as it struggles to deal with a resurgence of Covid cases that have prompted stringent lockdowns, disrupted industrial and manufacturing activities, and affected global and domestic supply chains and consumption. The measures - totalling tens of billions of dollars - include stimulus for companies, unemployment benefits, boost to infrastructure.

SHARE
Story Saved
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Tuesday, May 24, 2022