The US has granted a sanctions waiver for the Indian-Iranian port project at Chabahar.
This joint venture would otherwise be prohibited by the American ban on transactions with Iran’s shipping industry. The exemption ends an extended period of uncertainty over the port’s future.
Chabahar’s enhanced seaport will boost Indian trade volumes to and from Central Asia. Also, it will serve American interests.
The port can facilitate the delivery of international aid and other goods for Afghanistan’s US-backed government. This is due to surface transport routes connecting Chabahar with the Iranian-Afghan border.
The waiver includes an exemption for a proposed railway line along this route, and for its use to transport non-military goods across Iran to Afghanistan.
A new Indian-run port at Chabahar will also serve to counterbalance China’s regional influence.
China’s government recently financed a competing port project just across the border in Pakistan. It is investing up to US$60 billion in a giant network of transportation and energy infrastructure. This project is the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
For India, the port offers a way to deepen its trade ties with Central Asia, and it builds on existing trade relationships with Iran.
India is one of the largest consumers of Iranian oil, and has indicated that it intends to continue buying Tehran’s crude regardless of the American sanctions regime.
Source: The Maritime Executive
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