Gwadar port Current Affairs
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India Ports Global Limited Company has opened its office and took over operations at the Shaheed Behesti port at Chabahar. It happened during the occasion of the first meeting of the follow-up committee for implementation of the trilateral Chabahar agreement between India, Afghanistan and Iran.
Outcomes of the Trilateral Meet:
The note of the Ministry of external affairs on the meet says that Positive and constructive discussions were held between the three sides on full operationalisation of the Trilateral Transit Agreement for international transit and transport through the Chabahar Port. Important outcomes of the meet are:
- There was consensus on the routes for the trade and transit corridors between the three countries.
- It was agreed to finalise the protocol to harmonise transit, roads, customs, and consular matters at the earliest.
- It was agreed to allow cargo movement at Chabahar using Transports Internationaux Routiers Convention provisions.
Internationaux Routiers Convention
It is a multilateral treaty which aims to simplify and harmonise the administrative formalities of international road transport. It was concluded in Geneva on 14 November 1975. India is a party to the treaty.
- Holding an event to promote and popularise the potential of Chabahar on February 26, 2019.
- Constituting a study to determine measures to make the route attractive, decrease logistic costs and pave the way for smooth operationalisation of the Chabahar Agreement.
Chabahar port in the Sistan-Balochistan province of Iran’s southern coast is easily accessible from India’s western coast and is increasingly seen as a counter to Pakistan’s Gwadar Port, which is being developed with Chinese investment and is located at distance of around 80 km from Chabahar. Chabahar Port has the potential to be a gateway for golden opportunities for trade by India, Iran and Afghanistan with central Asian countries besides ramping up trade among the three countries since Pakistan denies transit access to India.
India Ports Global Limited
India Ports Global Private Limited is a private registered company and classified as Union Government Company. It is involved in Sea and coastal water transport.
Pakistan has leased the operations of its strategic Gwadar port to a State-run Chinese firm, the China Overseas Port Holding Company (COPHC) for a period of 40 years. COPHC is slated to carry out all the developmental work on the port situated in the Balochistan province of Pakistan. COPHC took over the operations of the port in 2013. Previously, the control of the Gwadar port was with Singapore’s PSA (Port of Singapore Authority) International.
As per the contract, 91% share of revenue collection from gross revenue of terminal and marine operations as well as 85% share from gross revenue of free zone operation will go to the COPHC. The provinces will not be given any share in the revenue collection.
Gwadar Port is a warm-water, deep-sea port situated on the Arabian Sea at Gwadar in Balochistan province of Pakistan. It is located at the mouth of the Persian Gulf just outside the strategically important Strait of Hormuz. It features as the southern Pakistan hub of the $57 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) plan. It is considered as a vital link between the Chinese One Belt, One Road initiative and the Maritime Silk Road project.
Advantages for China
Gwadar offers China a shortest route to oil-rich West Asia and Africa. China can use the port to transport fuel into north-western China, by transporting oil and gas from the port through pipelines to China’s Xinjiang province. Having Gwadar under its command would change the security dynamics for China. As China’s oil imports increase, it would prefer to insulate its energy transports from the troubled waters of the Straits of Malacca and the South China Sea.
Implications for India
Gwadar port offers serious strategic implications for India. Gwadar provides China a key listening post to observe the Indian naval activities around the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Aden. The Gwadar port, if fully operationalised, will wean Pakistan away from near-total dependence on Karachi, which is much closer to India and hence within the Indian military’s strike range. Lease of Gwadar port also helps China to encircle India (String of Pearls) and gain strategic advantage in the region. India has apprehensions that these ports could be used for military purpose as well.