Tuesday, December 23, 2008
clipped from: acorn.nationalinterest.in
The 218-km road connecting Delaram (on the Kandahar-Herat highway) to Zaranj, on the border with Iran has been completed.
It will provide landlocked Afghanistan an alternative access to the sea, the Iranian port of Chahbahar, allowing it to break free from Pakistan’s traditional stranglehold.
it remains to be seen if Iran will prove to be a better neighbour than Pakistan.
For Afghanistan, this is an opportunity to regain better access to the Indian market that it lost in 1947. For India, it is an opportunity to regain better access to Central Asia that it too lost in 1947.
US MILITARY SUPPLY ROUTE TO AFGHANISTAN
The Taliban has all but shut down the Pakistan supply route to Afghanistan. Russian routes are an option. The other option is to use the Iranian port of Chahbahar. The Indian government has spent over $1 billion to construct a multi-lane highway from the western Afghan city of Heart to the Iranian border to meet up with the road from Chahbahar. Some form of political deal with the regime in Tehran would enable the US and NATO to redirect most, if not all, the traffic that currently goes to Karachi—providing they retain control over Herat.
CHINA ALSO HAS A PLAN
clipped from: http://gawadarinnltd.com/page_1161468194468.html
In fact, Gwadar enjoys the status of a third Deep Sea Port of Pakistan which has a special significance with reference to trade links with Central Asian Countries, Persian Gulf, East Africa, United Arab Emirates and North Western India.
The Gwadar project came about as a result of a Sino-Pakistan agreement in March 2002, under which China Harbor Construction Corporation will build the port.
Beijing has provided $198 million for the first phase of the project and Islamabad's contribution has been $ 50 million. The scope of phase-1 includes construction of three multi-purpose berths each 200 meters long and capable of handling vessels up to 30,000 DWT.
By virtue of its excellent location, Gwadar port is also visualized to become a regional hub serving incoming and outgoing commercial traffic of the Middle Eastern and Gulf countries, the Xinjiang province of China, Iran in the west and Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in the south and east.
According to some sources, Beijing also intends to take advantage of Gwadar's accessible international trade routes to Central Asian republics and Xinjiang. The plan envisages extending China's east-west railway from the border city of Kashi to Peshawar.
The incoming and outgoing cargo from Gwadar can then be delivered to China through the shortest route from Karachi to Peshawar. The same road and rail network can also be used for the supply of oil from the Gulf to the western provinces of China.
Additionally, China could also gain rail and road access to Iran through Pakistan's internal road and rail network. Use of Gwadar port by China should accelerate the growth and development of the port and the hinterland and enhance its overall commercial and strategic value.
India is helping develop the Chabahar port and that would give it access to the oil and gas resources in Iran and the Central Asian states, in this it is competing with the Chinese which is building the Gwadar port, in Pakistani Baluchistan.
Iran plans to use Chabahar for transhipment to Afghanistan and Central Asia while reserving the port of Bandar Abbas as a major hub mainly for trade with Russia and Europe.
India, Iran and Afghanistan have signed an agreement to give Indian goods, heading for Central Asia and Afghanistan, preferential treatment and tariff reductions at Chabahar
Work on the Chabahar-Melak-Zaranj-Dilaram route from Iran to Afghanistan is in progress. Iran is with Indian aid upgrading the Chabahar-Melak road and constructing a bridge on the route to Zaranj. India's BRO is laying the 213-kilometer Zaranj-Dilaram road. It is a part of its USD 750 million aid package to Afghanistan.
The advantages that Chabahar has compared to Gwadar are the greater political stability and security of the Iranian hinterland and the hositlity and mistrust that the Pakistani Baluchis hold against the Punjabi dominated Pakistani Federal government. The Baluchis consider Sino-Pak initiative at Gwadar as a strategy from Islamabad to deny the province its deserved share of development pie. They also look with suspicion on the settlement of more and more non-Baluchis in the port area.
The Chabahar port project is Iran's chance to end its US sponsored economic isolation and benefit form the resurgent Indian economy. Along with Bandar Abbas, Chabahar is the Iranian entrepot on the North - South corridor. A strategic partnership between India, Iran and Russia to establish a multi-modal transport link connecting Mumbai with St. Petersburg. Providing Europe and the former Soviet republics of Central Asia access to Asia and vice-versa.