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Chabahar Port : A Gateway to Trade and Development in South and Central Asia


Access to seaport and sea route is essential for economic development as it provides economic and efficient means of transportation of goods and services in economically intertwined world. Many land locked countries such as Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan etc in South and Central Asia suffer in accessing market efficiently for exporting their commodities or other products due to lack of access to ports and sea route. Some of the countries of this region such as Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan have sea ports, but have limited or no access to major sea/ocean routes connecting to major countries across the globe. Many big cities across the world has developed nearby seaports connected to major seaports across the globe that provides opportunities for national, regional or global trade and commerce.


Chabahar seaport in Iran in Gulf of Oman being jointly developed by India and Iran is a landmark initiative that will not only benefit Afghanistan, India and Iran, but it will also benefit other countries in Central Asia. Though China and Pakistan can also benefit from this port, but they have made their own arrangement through Gwadar seaport. Chabahar Seaport has potential to connect to Russia and European countries through rail link. Afghanistan has abundant mineral resources like copper, coal, gold and natural gas etc; Kazakhstan has rich mineral resources like chromium, copper, lead and zinc, uranium and petroleum; Kyrgyzstan has vast resources of gold, coal, petroleum, mercury and zinc etc; Tajikistan has mercury, zinc, copper, gold, silver, oil and gas; Turkmenistan has petroleum and natural gas; and similarly Uzbekistan is rich in  uranium, copper and gold. Extraction and export of these resources can boost the economy of these Central Asian countries and access to Chabahar seaport will facilitate these countries to access global market.Iranhas  abundant petroleum, zinc and coal to export.India can export finished engineering goods, food grains, refined petroleum products, bauxite, iron ore and import petroleum and other minerals from this region. Increased Trade among countries in South Asia and Central Asia, and Russia will boost the economy of these two regions and will bring prosperity to this region. Chabahar seaport will also counter the monopoly of Gwadar seaport developed by China in Pakistan which could be used for other strategic purpose in lieu of extending transportation services to other countries in Central Asia.

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