Chabahar port — the new game changer?

Published: May 25, 2016
Corridor at Chabahar could bring down costs as well as time taken to transport cargo trade to Europe by 50 per cent Photo: PTI via NDTV

Corridor at Chabahar could bring down costs as well as time taken to transport cargo trade to Europe by 50 per cent Photo: PTI via NDTV

Corridor at Chabahar could bring down costs as well as time taken to transport cargo trade to Europe by 50 per cent Photo: PTI via NDTV The writer is a Programme Officer for South Asia Regional Peace and Stability Project at Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, Pakistan. He tweets @AbdullahDayo

Pakistan and China who claim to be two friends in need were preoccupied in the last few days, celebrating the 65th anniversary of the establishment of Pakistan-China diplomatic ties. On this occasion, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif stated that May 21 marked the day when the two countries took the first step towards the establishment of bilateral relations that have stood the test of time, and grown with each passing year.

While this blissful moment was being celebrated in our part of the region, India, Iran and Afghanistan were signing an accord to build a trade and transport corridor, designating Chabahar port as the hub. Now, this is going to be what I call the ‘game changing of the game changer’ because developing the Chabahar port will not only allow New Delhi to bypass Pakistan (which has a limited trade relationship with India due to diplomatic tensions and territorial disputes) and access global markets, but also counter China’s expanding influence in the Indian Ocean region. Studies indicate that the corridor at Chabahar could bring down costs as well as the time taken to transport cargo trade to Europe by approximately 50 per cent. India does not have direct land access to Afghanistan and through it, to Central Asia, because of the presence of Pakistan. In addition, with the Chinese funding the strategic port in Gwadar, which India believes will grant Beijing access to the Indian Ocean region, New Delhi began negotiations with Tehran more than a decade ago to develop the Chabahar port to counter the Chinese moves in an area which India sees as part of its sphere of influence.

India in deal to turn Iran port into trade hub

India will be spending around $500 million to develop the port in Iran’s south-eastern province of Sistan-Balochistan as a regional trade hub by introducing an alternative land-sea route for trade with Afghanistan and significantly, Chabahar is going to become a prime symbol of cooperation between Iran and India. From the Chabahar port, the existing Iranian road network can be linked up to the city of Zaranj in the Nimruz province of Afghanistan. Zaranj serves as the border crossing between Afghanistan and Iran, which is of significant importance to the trade route between Central Asia, South Asia and the Middle East. In 2009, the Zaranj-Delaram road was constructed by India at a cost of Rs680 crore — a 135-mile-long, two-lane road in Afghanistan, connecting Zaranj near the Iranian border with Delaram in the neighbouring Farah province. From Zaranj, the highway connects to Zabol across the border in Iran. Zabol — the capital of Sistan-Balochistan province of Iran is well-connected by road to the Chabahar port. The highway thus provides land-locked Afghanistan an alternative way to access the Arabian Sea and the Persian Gulf, instead of relying solely on the unstable Pakistani routes. The road is much shorter and more stable than any of the routes in Pakistan, making it perhaps the most efficient means of reaching Afghanistan. The future plans for Iran-India-Afghanistan cooperation include an international North-South Transport Corridor through Iran to Russia and Europe.

Chabahar-Gwadar port contest does not end in a tie

Both India and Pakistan were admitted as full members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) last year and are expected to join it this year. This can pave the path towards strengthening Pakistan-India relations. It provides an opportunity for the two countries to resolve their problems and to work towards the promotion of neighbourly relations and cooperation. From Pakistan’s perspective, this can only be conceivable if the two major powers of the SCO, namely China and Russia, realise the vision of fostering relations amongst regional countries. Also, there is a dire need of balancing civil-military relations in Pakistan to deal with the dynamics of the fast-changing international landscape — else, Pakistan will remain in danger of not accruing the full benefits of recent regional developments that are being claimed to be game changers.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 26th, 2016.

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Reader Comments (106)

  • Aram
    May 25, 2016 - 11:57PM

    Disagreed with this article that Chabahar Port is a game changer. Basically it is taking from tale to head in general. India already in talk for chabahar and then pakistan signed with china for CPEC. Still Chabahar will cost india much and then passing Afghanistan is a very tough job where mostly areas are occupied by Taliban and will benefit Taliban they will loot their goods and will enjoy. India GDP is 1.8 Trillion USD, Whereas CPEC is dealing with china with a GDP 11 Trillion USD. Gawadar will defeat Chabahar and this project is also showing Iran’s real face toward Pakistan.Recommend

  • Anon
    May 26, 2016 - 12:05AM

    While Gwadar is still a white elephant…
    Chahbahar emerged out to be the real game changer, as there is a clear road map drawn by India Iran Afghanistan….
    Japan is also shown interest in chahbahar port…
    US also indirectly supporting Chahbahar , as after improved relations with Iran, now US does not need Pakistan as transit route to Afghanistan…Recommend

  • Woz ahmed
    May 26, 2016 - 12:15AM

    Positive article.

    India already exported via the North South corridor, but via Bander Abbas.

    We made this port viable by blocking Indias access overland.

    For North Indian companies trade with Afghanistan will be more expensive, but for the lower two thirds of India it will be the same or cheaper.we can undermine this port by opening the land route, but I doubt we think very far ahead.Recommend

  • HBK
    May 26, 2016 - 12:16AM

    @Aram….dude, your argument is short of facts and full of frustration…
    though author and many other Pak intellectuals has realized the truth, but still many likes of you will live in denial mode ..
    and you shouldn’t worry abt India’s GDP as one Indian state Maharashtra’s GDP is higher than Pak’s GDP….Recommend

  • Sumi
    May 26, 2016 - 12:23AM

    Slowly slowly but, Pak intellectuals are now seeing Writing on the Wall –
    “Chahbahar is the Real game changer”Recommend

  • Grace
    May 26, 2016 - 12:41AM

    @Aram: Pakistanis like me are happy that India is investing in Chabahar because we know it won’t amount to anything. What type of trade comes from Afghanistan apart from dried nuts? Let them load and unload things at Chabahar and ship them by boat back and forth from India and spend the extra money. At least now Pakistan doesn’t have to open up the border to land locked Afghanistan and we won’t get all the refugees and crime that comes with it. Afghanistan is Afghanistan and will never change. Pakistan can still trade with Central Asia via CPEC. We all know that CPEC and Gwadar is going to be big so let the Indians even spend more and more billions trying to build Chabahar in remote Iran to trade with Afghanistan.Recommend

  • May 26, 2016 - 12:46AM

    Global Politics is all about leverage. The one leverage Pakistan had over Afghanistan was that Pakistan is the gateway to the entire world for Afghanistan. This tied up Afghanistan’s hand as there was dependence on Pakistan.

    Now, India is determined to break that leverage. Not just break it, but destroy it!

    India is building key infrastructure in mostly Northern Alliance areas to ensure Taliban will never take over all of Afghanistan. At the same time it will connect these areas to Chabahar.

    This would ensure India’s place is elevated and permanent in Afghanistan.

    CPEC is basically a $46 Billion loan, with Pakistan having to pay back every single penny. How in Earth will Pakistan generate so much money when its own Forex Reserve is hovering around $20 Billion? Recommend

  • Shuaib
    May 26, 2016 - 1:03AM

    I think it’s good, we need to seal the border and let Iran trade with Afghanistan.Recommend

    May 26, 2016 - 1:13AM

    One more critical point about Chabahar:

    After this agreement with Iran on Chabahar, India would not ask Pakistan to provide a direct land route to Afghanistan and central Asia; Pakistan has thus permanently lost a leverage for ever. Thank you deep thoughts of Pakistan establishment to barter land access with Kashmir. Advantage India.Recommend

  • pashtun
    May 26, 2016 - 1:30AM

    Another realistic intellectual showing the world the true face of Pakistan. Why the people of your religion are more loyal with iran than their own country? Can puppet president of kabul come out of his office ? Is sistan not a sunni dominated volatile region occupied by iran ? Is world not converting very quickly into Religeous conflicts ? Pakistan just needs to get rid of tyrant america, curb corruption and remain calm. Allah will never favour dajjal’s followers Recommend

  • Sam
    May 26, 2016 - 2:17AM

    Now will have safer option to reach central asia, instead of going through Pakistan. as India is investing and developing, we will save money in free trade zones. Also, two Muslim countries are earned as friends, which consider Pakistan as villain.Recommend

  • Naveed
    May 26, 2016 - 2:18AM

    Sometimes I wonder what if Afghanistan denies us access to central Asia. They will not need Pakistan when they get access to sea via Chabahar port. We are totally depending on CPEC. Is it safe to keep all our eggs in one basket. With China coming under pressure from world community we wont gain much.Recommend

  • May 26, 2016 - 2:35AM

    More bad news for Pakistan. By the time China start te new corridor, Baluchistan will be part of Afghanistan.Recommend

  • R Subramanian
    May 26, 2016 - 2:39AM

    You are wrong India’s GDP is 2.4 trillion dollars in nominal. And there is no need for India to rely on Afghan alone for its trade with Europe and Russia, India can use other routes of Iran.. I feel India Iran and Afghan growth is good. I appreciate Afghan Government’s policy for economic growth, it will lift Afghan people from poverty. Like Bangladesh, one day Afghanistan may also overtake Pakistan economically. In the end Pakistan will have only the strategic assets but no friends in its immediate neighbourhood.Recommend

  • sharif
    May 26, 2016 - 3:15AM

    Zabol is not the Iranian Balochistan is Zahidan.Recommend

  • Gp65
    May 26, 2016 - 3:27AM

    Afghan Taliban are present in south Afghanistan. These routes are in North Afghanistan.Recommend

  • sabi
    May 26, 2016 - 3:35AM

    China and Pakistan will use Iran territory to connect to Europe in return Iran will use cpec to connect to China, how come Chabahar becomes a threat to cpec? so called strategic experts have no answer for that. To sabotage the whole concept of cpec you have to presume Iran denying China the passage to Europe,which is impossible . Recommend

  • someone
    May 26, 2016 - 6:35AM

    LOL. When did you have a look at google map last time? Why on earth China would use CPEC to reach Europe???? They border with Russia and Central Asia. Where do you think they go now for European trade??? I used to think you can’t make fool of all the people all the time but Pakistanis proved me wrong.Recommend

  • Humza
    May 26, 2016 - 7:51AM

    @sabi: Agreed. The main point that the arm chair analysts fail to understand is that Gwader is a natural deep sea harbour with a capacity that cannot be matched by Chabahar. Look it up. There is information on the geography and specifics for inquiring minds. That’s why no one is threatened by another port so close to Gwader. Good luck to Chabahar too !Recommend

  • Abhishek
    May 26, 2016 - 8:17AM

    Chabahar will be check mate for Pakistan. Independent Afghanistan can block Pakistan to access central Asia. Now Pakistan will never be a transit route for the world. No. Free money (transit fee). Recommend

  • BlackHat
    May 26, 2016 - 8:38AM

    From Chinese point of view, CPEC is a good idea but anyone can see that the full potential of the project can only be realized when all countries of the region participate, and the whole region benefits. If you put aside rivalry, you may see both Gwadar and Chahbahar ports can serve the vast continental hinterland.

    In fact, China was in talks with Iran about investing in Chahbahar, though for now, they have a deal to build an industrial township just outside of Chahbahar. Not only that, the Chinese are also talking to both Afghanistan and Iran about laying oil & gas pipelines, railway and roads from Iran, through Afghanistan (Wakhan corridor) directly to western China. Also, Chinese freight trains are already plying in Iran from Central Asia.

    So, why would Beijing invest in two similar projects one inside Pakistan and one outside? Pakistan’s fiddling around with religious extremists makes the future uncertain.

    Plans are in the making for rail and road connectivity between China and India one through Nepal and the other through Myanmar and Bangladesh.

    While there may be strategic rivalry between China and other countries, economic cooperation is also going on in parallel. That is how mature and pragmatic governments deal with each other.Recommend

  • vinsin
    May 26, 2016 - 9:05AM

    China is not dependent on Iran to reach Europe. No one here is talking about CPEC.Recommend

  • IndianDude
    May 26, 2016 - 9:08AM


    And what types of trades/exports come from pakistan except for the ‘IT’ graduates from world famous IIT..Islamabad Institute of Ter….Recommend

  • IndianDude
    May 26, 2016 - 9:13AM

    Pakistani who think that India does not share border with Chahabar should remember that shipment by ‘free’ sea is the cheapest/kg of goods compared to any other mode of transportation! Yes! That’s right cheaper and safer than it will cost for transport of goods from major parts of India to Iran via Pakistan! With added advantage of NOT paying a single rupee to pakistan for transit of goods.Recommend

  • Atheist
    May 26, 2016 - 9:18AM

    @Grace: Indian main concern is building a gas pipeline from Iran to India undersea which Indian and Iranian companies are working on.Another thing is India is going to build Urea plant from Iran cheap gas and send that to India as that will save around 7bn$ annually as India gives huge subsidy for urea.And Indian NALCO is building a gas based power plant and a petrochemical complex there.Indian Tata motors has JV with Iranian car company Khodro.India also building a railway line of 900 km that will India help India to goods to central Asia and to Europe and Russia. A dry run has already been done ,its cost 25% less as India is doing through bander Abbas.For Afghanistan it’s a brotherly gasture from India and we wish Afghan people peace and prosperity after years of devastationRecommend

  • Atheist
    May 26, 2016 - 9:22AM

    @Aram: India will develop and reach 5tn$ in next decade don’t worry.Ask yourself where are you budget support by begging. Too much China is not good for your reputation if there anything.Recommend

  • Mega
    May 26, 2016 - 10:14AM

    @Aram. Trade through chabahar cuts India trade expenses by 50% for export import from Central Asia and Europe, than what we pay currently. So it’s win win situation for us. Even if pakistan opens Wagah now.. We won’t ditch Iran port becoz we know we need alternative, should pakistan block its route.
    1. 560 million is just for building Iran port. India however is investing 38 billion dollar in chabahar – in railways, aluminium smelting plant, fertilzer plant, urea, pharamacuieticals etc + plus utilise special economic zone there. Not Jist South india! North india too does trade via gujarat port which is in centre of india and parallel to is mumbai port near. The distance between Mumbai/gujarat port to Iran is less then mumbai to Delhi.
    2. This is safest route. iran is safe security wise and this passes through North of Afganistan where there is no taliban, taliban controls South afganistan near pakistan border.
    3. Afghanistan not just sells dry fruits. Its mineral rich country -copper, iron ore etc which we plan to buy. 4. Comparing india China gdp to dismiss chahabar is stupid.. In chahabar india earns for its Gwadar China does..what’s for pakistan in it who is putting up paying whole Bill as 48 billion loan owed to China, for a route meant for China?Recommend

  • Nav
    May 26, 2016 - 10:25AM

    Afghanistan is not allowing full fledged access to Pakistan to other countries through it as Pakistan is blocking Onion, Dry fruits and other exports to India from Afghanistan. Now, with alternative route, Afghanistan does not need Pakistan for Seaport access and will block Pakistan from accessing Central asian countries. So Pakistan will become land locked country, with only one access point in Chinese side.Recommend

  • Nav
    May 26, 2016 - 10:29AM

    Indian goods will become cheapest for export as it will go through Sea where you do not have to pay any transit-fee. A land route through Pakistan would have made Indian goods costlier as India has to pay fees to Pakistan and Pakistan would have made lots of money. An export to Germany can now can go through Iran-Turkey border in a faster manner.Recommend

  • sabi
    May 26, 2016 - 10:34AM

    China is building multiple routes for Europe and Africa. Iran is one of them. Soon we will be seeing Chinese premier visiting Iran announcing tens of billions of dollars investment there. Recommend

  • ali
    May 26, 2016 - 10:53AM

    and why are indians commenting on this post? where do you guys come from? get a life everyone. stop fighting like kids. grow up India and Pakistan. look at EU – each and every country has killed so many people from other countries in EU but eventually sense prevailed. we are like kidsRecommend

  • omer
    May 26, 2016 - 10:54AM

    If Chabahar is a ‘game changer’ then the author is Vasco de Gama and we are living in 20 BC. Seriously, how can you even consider that? It was always on the table for India. Gawadar and Chabahar will coexist and this goes without saying that Gawadar will become regional hub keeping in view the Oil rich gulf states would prefer sending oil to China via Pakistan and not Iran for obvious reasons and Pakistan does not need Afghanistan to reach Central Asian states, there are alternates routes (Wakhan belt? and through China).Furthermore, Chabahar is an alternate route (expensive and inconvenient :D) for India to bypass Pakistan; good for India. How come Pakistan loses? Finally, there are many slips between cup and lips. You cannot bypass Turkey to reach Europe. Can you? and let’s not forget there is an elephant in the room and why can’t you see that? Oh its not an elephant; its a dragon and it rules this region and not India. Recommend

  • Sonya
    May 26, 2016 - 10:56AM

    When Rouhani visited Pakistan and Kulbushan capture was staged by the Incharge of Pakistan’s security and Nawaz Sharif kept quite, it is when Rouhani publically said whenever Iran-Pak try to get closer there are elements which don’t want that to happen. Recommend

  • Dr. Ashraf Kh
    May 26, 2016 - 11:06AM

    My Indian friends are creating unnecessary hype on construction of Chabahar Port. Military and Navel Importance of both ports of Gawadar and Chabahar is not new. Russian invasion of Afghanistan in 80‘ and presence of US navy is part of this game plan. Only difference now is that this area is changing from geopolitical to geo-economics rivalry. No one is winner in this games, but more suffering of people from new super powers in this region.Recommend

  • Prada
    May 26, 2016 - 11:12AM

    Chabahar is a masterstroke by India and Iran to checkmate Pakistan once and for all. After this nobody will talk about Pakistan’s “geografia” again.Recommend

  • Ishaq Khan
    May 26, 2016 - 11:14AM

    Chah Bahar will prove bigger white elephant than Gawadar as Gawadar is already functional and has route through rather safe and stable Pakistan than war ravaged Afghanistan. yes Afghanistan can take benefit from Chahbahar and India can reach Afghanistan and Turkey via Iran but reaching CARs is a far fetched idea. For CARs crossing into Afghanistan then Wakhan belt and into Pakistan joining CPEC is much more feasible and efficient.

    The bigger benefit will be innocent people of Pakistan will get that there is no Brother Islamic country but it is national interest that rule the governments’ decision.Recommend

  • Faraz
    May 26, 2016 - 11:18AM

    I have one word for all the strategic gems being churned out by Indian trolls: “Poppycock”.
    This is Afghanistan we are talking about, not some Asian Tiger economy generating billions in trade. Secondly, as far as Pak-Afghan trade is concerned, will it make sense for a builder in Kabul to import construction materials like cement, steel, concrete, etc all the way from Mumbai, via, Chabahar, through land route in Iran, crisscross dangerous militant held lands in Afghanistan and reach Kabul after a week or so? Or just order the same through already built land route from Northern Punjab in Pakistan in a day at quarter of the cost? Moreover, majority of Pakistan’s export based industry is based in Karachi, or Hub Balochistan, closer to Karachi/Gawadar ports, and by turn Chabahar which can be used for moving goods through Afghanistan (security permitting) to Central Asia . So, thank you India for making our task easier. Recommend

  • AZ
    May 26, 2016 - 11:21AM

    @Dipak : You seem like a day dreamer, ancient sleeping time traveler, who just woke up in 2016 and made a comment out here,,, hehe.Recommend

  • Raw is War
    May 26, 2016 - 11:32AM


    ” China is building multiple routes for Europe and Africa.”

    how does this concern you. Are you chinese?Recommend

  • May 26, 2016 - 11:35AM

    LOL so typical of ET, again using indian sources for their facts. Overlooked so many issues like Chahbahar’s own underdevelopment, the security issue on the highway esp. Baloch separatism their also, as well asAfghanistan. China won’t be trading with CAR only its going to be trading with 100+ nations esp. African countries which it will get closer to due to Gwadar, which will benefit Pakistan. India’s total invesment is 500 million China is 46 billion with much of the infrastructure inplace. After repeating the indian point of view, How the writer asked Russia to help Pakistan get close to india was the one that made me laugh really hardRecommend

  • Pnpuri
    May 26, 2016 - 11:45AM

    China will not use cpec route for its trade with Iran . It has already laid railway line connecting Teheran through central Asia. Iran China trade will be done through railway line. CPEC Route will not be used for trade with Russia and Europe as China has a shorter route through central Asia . CPEC (Eastern route) besides connecting China with punjab and sindh in pakisam will be useful for china trade with northern India, Rajasthan and Gujarat. The economy of these areas is larger than that of Pakistan. I doubt if Pakistan will object to such trade between india and china. ‘ Recommend

  • rich
    May 26, 2016 - 11:53AM


    great thoughts, close afghan trade route thru Pakistan to Karachi port

    now afghan have chabar so that blackmail wount work, but afghan can cut Pakistani access to central asia, and the gas/petrol there

    so they have advantage, and indi will have access to CA, and beyond

    why Pakistanis think chabar will only help india afghan trade wich is small, india can access iran , afghan, CA, Iraq, Syria ect or even turkey all these countries border iran

    noT to speak bout Russia

    Pakistan will be left with only china, no CA if afghan block pakistn, then Pakistani access to CA and beyond will be thru china, and china wants that, so they can make paksitan totally dependent on them Recommend

  • Afroz
    May 26, 2016 - 12:21PM

    The very first impression after reading the article, it comes to mind that China, who is leading the world economy, is very stupid and had not the vision to see the benefit of Chabhar Port and missed the boat by not investing for Iran Port. Further the stupidity of China continued and China, who is famous for investment savvy decisions, has done a ginormous mistake by investing in Pakistan for CPEC which will tantamount to US$ 50 billion.

    It seems that after reading the article and benefit of Chabahar Port, China will immediately come out of agreement with Pakistan on CPEC and will be earnestly requesting from India and Iran to make China as one of the stakeholder of Chabhar port.

    One should not go deep down in analyzing the technical pros and cons of the two projects and should see the project with psychological eye.China has entered into the agreement with Pakistan for CPEC due to trade benefit and acost efficiency whereas India and Iran is trying to counter this big agreement of CPEC with shoddy attitude of 5 years kids who throw tantrum for not having the share of Candy with his brother.Recommend

  • Expert
    May 26, 2016 - 12:42PM

    Please enlighten us with facts..Recommend

  • Milind
    May 26, 2016 - 1:00PM

    Sensible stuff. especially the last para. India also has rivalry with China, however that hasn’t stopped us from full-fledged trade with China. This seems counter-intuitive but it at the best blunts the rivalry among nations or at the worst spurs the economy – no major side-effects. However who will drill this pragmatism in the heads of the pindi ‘boys’, as this would mean shutting down their shop…Recommend

  • tatvavetta
    May 26, 2016 - 1:04PM

    CPEC will dump Chinese goods in Pakistan in quantities. PAKISTAN will SOON be CLOSER TO DEBT TRAP. Chinese investment is not free like American aid. By 2020 Pakistan will not be in position to service any debts. Financial crisis like Greece,Spain,Venuzuela are in offing for Pakistan. consult Pakistani experts on this.Recommend

  • Guru Vivekanand
    May 26, 2016 - 1:12PM

    CPEC = china
    Chahbhar Port = Iran Afghan India
    Pakistan = 0,

    If there has to be a discussion/face off between people which port/route out of the two is better then it should have been between the Chinese, Iranians, Afghans and Indians. Why are so many Pakistanis eager to discuss something which is not their at the very first place??. Jealous much???. Recommend

  • Ideas
    May 26, 2016 - 2:08PM

    I think all this comments will pave to be a futile exercise in the long run in order to prove one or another whether right or wrong. The global players have lot to do here. The time will tell us what is the game, who are the players and what amounts to be changer. Let’s see, take a back seat, time will justifies.

    Any things which can bring, peace, friendship, trust and harmony and can really change the life of a common man regardless which nationality he has, which religion he belongs, we all must welcome. But it is only possible if global players have the intentions be beyond their economical / commercial interests.Recommend

  • AZ
    May 26, 2016 - 2:11PM

    @Guru Vivekanand
    @every Indian Troll.
    “”CEPC is a GEM in China’s string of Perls.”” Hope you got it or whatever.Recommend

  • Hashk03
    May 26, 2016 - 3:28PM

    @Guru Vivekanand: CPEC = china
    Chahbhar Port = Iran Afghan India
    Pakistan = 0, ……….

    Indians invented zero in vedic times and you guys are very good in finding zero out of every thing. Specially if its related to Pakistan. Game changer were also the words heard loudly at the time of nuclear testing, missile tests, Teja vs JF-17, now chahbhar vs CPEC and many many times before these events. Looking at comments posted by many Indians it seems like it will continue in future as well while we will survive and thrive.

    Swarm of indian trolls behave, like it’s compulsory religion for them to, hanging around website to website, shamelessly defend their logic regardless of how they twist it. Its not going to work. Get some life and think rationally(.)

    BTW last thing in brackets is called full stop, do not consider it zero.Recommend

  • Shakil Ahmed
    May 26, 2016 - 4:17PM

    There is no comparison between Chabahar and Gawadar!
    Gawadar is a deep sea port, Chabahar isnt!
    Gawadar will be more export oriented for China, while Chahbahar will mainly serve Afghanistan imports!
    With Karachi already serving Afghanistan for transit, Chahbahar will have to compete with both Karachi and Gawadar, it will be a healthy competition for lower transit fees for Afghanistan.

    Gawadar is backed by a extensive network of CPEC links to China and to central Asia, which lacks for Chabahar.

    Writer absolutely wrong when comparing Afghanistan and Pakistan stability, when was ever Afghanistan considered a stable country than Pakistan? Chahbar access to Central Asia is limited to peace in Afghanistan and infrastructure of motorways that is non existent in Afghanistan.

    While Chabahar provide India access to Afghanistan, its not cheap and faster route for India. If India make peace with Pakistan, there is an instant land route access to Afghanistan and Central Asia for India.

    India instead of working to corner and destroy Pakistan is not sustainable, but only peace will bring stability to the region.Recommend

  • Haramullah Fattuddin
    May 26, 2016 - 4:26PM

    1971 disaster was also dreamed at some point of time.Recommend

  • Pashtun
    May 26, 2016 - 4:33PM

    This Indians are feeling like they have conquered the world by achieving Chabahar. They think that witty Chinese would not have thought that if in any case US, Iran, India and Afghanistan (puppet kabul regime) make an alliance against Pakistan plus China then what would be alternative options. Chinese major goals for developing CPEC are hydrocarbons imports and industrial exports from/to Middle East and Africa which save billions of dollars to them. Other routes are upto 10000 miles while Gwadar will reduce that distance for them to only 2500 miles. China will also get a military base in Indian Ocean to reduce Indo-US influence in indian ocean. Indians are happy for a route to central asia via iran and kabul but they do not know about the ground realities. America is seeking for desperate exit from Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan due to massive defeat. Taliban are regaining territories and they already claim to be the descendants of hindus’ idol-destroyers. Now what Pakistan needs at this time ? to get rid of tyrant america, improve governance and curb corruption. Stay calm and see what happens in near futureRecommend

  • FAZ
    May 26, 2016 - 4:36PM

    This article seems to give a lot of weightage to Chabahar.
    Just a simple question..
    Dubai port is a very important gateway to the middle east. Has its presence in any way stopped Kuwait, Bahrain or Qatar from progressing? In the end what matters is how much cargo will be crossing over and what would be its nature? In addition the most important factor is what is the economic and security situation of the countries that are involved in trading. Obviously the matter of concern for Pakistan is not Chabahar. Its her own security and infrastructure that would matter in the end along with economic prosperity. These are the real challangesRecommend

  • Someone
    May 26, 2016 - 4:47PM

    Let’s see..a $50 billion investment in an economic corridor compared to peanuts worth $500 million investment. And here’s the catch… even to reach Chabahar, ships need to cross Pakistani naval territory. And then go through Taliban territory in Afghanistan. Someone in the geostategic department would go bonkers. This is a dead investment doomed for failure. And its not even a “deep sea” port. Something for the armchair analysts. A port is not even a port if it isn’t deep sea.Recommend

  • Guru Vivekanand
    May 26, 2016 - 4:50PM

    @Hashk03, you still did not get the point did you? Let me explain again, only this time read it slowly.

    CPEC will be used by China, Chahbahar by Iran, Afghanistan and India. China and India are both investing to build these two ports.

    Where does Pakistan figure out in the above scenario? Why are Pakistani so obsessed with Chahbahar?

    Oh wait …. did India just bypass Pakistan to reach Iran, Afghanistan, central Asia and Russia dashing someone’s sweet dream??

    BTW last thing in brackets is called full stop, do not consider it zero” there isn’t much difference between the two and am sure you must know best as your country keep amounting to one and hit the other way to often.Recommend

  • Ch. Allah Daad
    May 26, 2016 - 5:32PM

    After reading article and comments, I am certain that none of the writers have any experience of transportation, logistics, markets, purchasing power, goods needed, trade and business. We Pakistanis and Indians have many similarities but most prominent is that we do not look at facts and figures. Everyone is blinded about the fact that Afghanistan is poorest country of the world. They have zero purchasing power and none of its neighbors have capacity to offer them free goods. I am not only a transporter, I have traded with Afghans therefore I know very well about this business. Afghans need necessary goods to survive. Considering it a huge market is the first mistake which everyone is making. Also Indian, Iranian and Pakistani markets are full of Chinese goods, therefore it would be Chinese goods which will take over Afghanistan. (FYI they are already there). Chinese companies have already bought most of the mining rights.
    Before conclusion, I would say that comparing Gawadar with Chabahar is comparing apples with oranges. Gawader is for Chinese dominance whereas Chabahar is for poor Afghans. Recommend

  • Logical
    May 26, 2016 - 5:33PM

    Which country has more trade to do with world? Obviously China.
    So even if chabahar port is created still major chunk of world trading will be through CPEC.
    Its not a big threat to CPEC.Recommend

  • Singh
    May 26, 2016 - 5:54PM

    @Grace: Pakistan can still trade with Central Asia via CPEC.

    Can you explain how Cpec connect to central Asia?Recommend

  • Prada
    May 26, 2016 - 5:55PM

    Japan has expressed its interest in developing the Chabahar Economic Corridor. Obama also supports it despite some Senators expressing their reservations against Iran. Chabahar v/s Gwadar is now a reality.Recommend

  • Sridhar Kaushik
    May 26, 2016 - 6:05PM

    People are missing out on one essential detail. USA today agreed to support the Chabahar port agreement between India and Iran.
    What does it mean?
    A great deal.
    Western powers may start using this port to gain access to Central Asia, now that Iran does not face sanctions any more and is free to trade.
    It also means USA may use this route to get manpower and equipment in and out of Afghanistan in future instead of using Pakistan land route and Karachi and paying a hefty transit fee.
    So, far only China supports this CPEC and is investing heavily. Pakistan will provide 10,000 troops to guard it. That shows the level of concern that exists in China regarding the security issues. Balochistanis do not favor this. Only time will tell if this is viable.Recommend

  • mind control
    May 26, 2016 - 6:22PM

    Gwadar and Chabahar are symbols of rivalry between China and India.

    Where does Pakistan come in?

    Pakistani has ceded some territory to China and hopes to receive rent.
    And that is it.Recommend

  • sabi
    May 26, 2016 - 6:23PM

    .” I doubt if Pakistan will object to such trade between india and china. ”
    If you read news then you will know that Pakistani government has on numerous occasions made it clear that cpec is meant to engage whole region which include India too. This trade route development is meant to cater needs of China after 20 to 30 years but for Pakistan its immediate benefits are already visible. For us,alone trade cooridor or energy projects wouldn’t be enough if we don’t -fill the gaps -that is, industrialization of Pakistan. We are hopeful of massive industrialization of Pakistan through foreign investments. For that purpose huge industrial zones are being developed all along Pakistan .
    There are still very smart people left in Pakistan who can make this possible. I can tell you that Pakistan is really changing. We are not afraid of Chahbahar neither India should be worried about cpec. If not today tomorrow cpec will be a joint property for the whole region I have no doubt about that. Recommend

  • Sridhar Kaushik
    May 26, 2016 - 6:28PM

    Besides, while loans from IMF, World Bank come at low interest rate, Pakistan’s “taller than mountain, deeper than Ocean” friend China charges a high rate of interest. One Pakistani anchor said that it is charging 17% interest for the money for CPEC but that cannot be verified.Recommend

  • Sridhar Kaushik
    May 26, 2016 - 6:30PM

    Did you not realize (perhaps you were sleeping) that we live in a global village of interconnectivity.
    Welcome to the new world. Recommend

  • Sad but True
    May 26, 2016 - 7:18PM


    What is your contribution in CPEC?Recommend

  • someone
    May 26, 2016 - 8:13PM

    @Ch. Allah Daad:
    You made a lot of sense there sir. Indeed, Chabahar offers an alternative to Afghans. Right now Pakistan allows only Afghan goods to India but not the other way around hence it has sort of monopoly on Afghan imports. Trade via Dubai is expensive for Indian traders hence chabahar would offer a good opportunity for Indian traders to send goods to Afghanistan. There would be repercussions for Pakistanis traders because now they would have to compete with Indian goods. These would also include agricultural products like wheat and Pharmaceutical products. India may also go with barter system with Afghanistan like food, medicine or equipment for raw material like minerals etc. All in all, these are interesting times which may not bode very well for Pakistan.Recommend

  • Abid Mahmud Ansari
    May 26, 2016 - 9:18PM

    Once Americans also thought to use northern route byepassing Pakistan.So let india and afghanistan be happy with their “check mate” phobia.They will soon eat their words!
    Abid Mahmud Ansari,

  • Jaggu
    May 26, 2016 - 9:18PM

    You are forgetting something that sells in international market at a high price and originates from Afghanistan. Yes dude, drugs. Now they will be exported at fast speed from Chabhar to the rest of the world without touching Pakistan land. Good riddance for us. It’s time now that Iran and India should taste this item first [email protected]: Recommend

  • sabi
    May 26, 2016 - 9:36PM

    @Sad but True:
    My contribution ? didn’t get your point.Recommend

  • gp65
    May 26, 2016 - 9:37PM

    China’s situation is different from India. Pakistan denies overland access to central Asia to India. Hence developing this port will reduce logistics costs of trade for India with central Asia. China has contiguous border.
    @Woz ahmed:
    Very reasonable comment. It recognizes that
    1) Pakistan chose to deny overland transit access to India for its trade with central Asia
    2) Even if overland access existed, Chabahar still is cheaper for Indian companies located in 3/4 other than North IndiaRecommend

  • gp65
    May 26, 2016 - 9:42PM

    @Ch. Allah Daad:
    You are not considering India’s trade with Central Asia.Recommend

  • sabi
    May 26, 2016 - 9:43PM

    @Ch. Allah Daad:
    Well said. Recommend

  • Nick Farahshah
    May 26, 2016 - 9:57PM

    How come so many Hindus posting comments here. Gawadar seems to bother them a lot. First of all, Pakistan should supplying arms to Taliban. That will be a Game Changer wouldn’t it.
    I doubt India has 500 millions dollars to give away. Their people are dying of hunger and trying to act like America. This is a big joke. They couldn’t even buy more than 36 Rafale. Pakistan can always block Indian usage of the port during the war. Indian/Iranian pipeline under the sea which is a far fetch idea and not practical and could be sabotage. These Hindus forget that Afghanistan depends on their daily staples from Pakistan and 60% are Pashtun whom America couldn’t defeat.
    We Pakistanis in America are powerful than these damn Hindus. We need make their life difficult here.Recommend

  • HZR
    May 26, 2016 - 10:00PM

    You think china is spending billions of dollars to build CPEC for Pakistan to trade with Central naiveRecommend

  • HZR
    May 26, 2016 - 10:04PM


    No freebies in international politics.there is always something which is hidden from the public.How many of us know even today about the denials in the Simla Accord?Recommend

  • Hashk03
    May 26, 2016 - 11:26PM

    @Guru Vivekanand:
    you still did not get the point did you? Let me explain again, only this time read it slowly.
    CPEC will be used by China, Chahbahar by Iran, Afghanistan and India. China and India are both investing to build these two ports.

    Wrong assumption. Who told you that CPEC or Gawadar port will be used by china alone. Bulk of the money for CPEC is for energy generation. That energy will be fed to existing and new industry along the corridor. This way new products will be made inside Pakistan and then will be exported through Gawadar and through other land routes to central asia. Money spent on CPEC will not be aid but loans on private companies. Much of that will not be public debt.

    Where does Pakistan figure out in the above scenario? Why are Pakistani so obsessed with Chahbahar?

    As i said earlier get some life and think rationally, just speaking or writing english language is not enough for you. If you dont use unbiased brain and just try to impress other’s with your foreign language skills then you will be just a troll for decades to come. Stop assuming! and stop your obsession toward Pakistan as well!

    “BTW last thing in brackets is called full stop, do not consider it zero” there isn’t much difference between the two and am sure you must know best as your country keep amounting to one and hit the other way to often.

    Only in your dreams. As i said earlier you guys invented zero and can make a zero out of every thing specially if something is related to Pakistan. Though you can defend your logic as shamelessly as you like or with as much rationality as you like. You got choice here and freedom on this site. Which Chabhar countries can not provide you on their sites.Recommend

  • Sad but True
    May 26, 2016 - 11:51PM

    We are hopeful of massive industrialization of Pakistan. What is your inputs aside from China?Recommend

  • hamza khan
    May 27, 2016 - 12:54AM


    youre insane…gwadar is a deep sea port and can be used by central asian, gulf, and china to become a hub to transport. the strategic straits of hormuz transports 60% of the worlds oil. chabahar is nothing. its not a deep sea port and will amount to zilch. Recommend

  • Rao
    May 27, 2016 - 12:57AM

    No matter what Pakistani think tank will say, one day Pakistan has to understand that there is no better friend than India for it. Get over with Kashmir…no one in the world will buy a theory based on religion …UN resolutions are just suggestions not binding in case of Kashmir…almost all facts, history and instrument of accession all supporting Indian claim on kashmir…Please don’t waste time and money for nothing that happens in future.. I request all pakistani think tanks and tv talk show hosts to come with a fresh look on documents about kashmir and dont get trapped in jingoism..
    Pakistan Jindabad.Recommend

  • good
    May 27, 2016 - 1:40AM

    India’s investment in Chabahar would eventually would benefit Pakistan as the Sunni-dominated Sistan Baluchistan shall breakaway from Iran, becoming independent and friendly toward Pakistan.Recommend

  • Bharat
    May 27, 2016 - 2:02AM

    The choice is between Gwadar and Chabbar
    Through Chabbar you can go to the Central Asian countries, and through Gwadar you can go to China but not to Afghanistan and Central Asia

    And there lies the problem for Pakistan. Which is now a country surrounded by countries that do not like PakistanRecommend

  • Naresh
    May 27, 2016 - 3:27AM

    @ Abdullah Dayo : Both India and Pakistan were admitted as full members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) last year and are expected to join it this year. This can pave the path towards strengthening Pakistan-India relations. It provides an opportunity for the two countries to resolve their problems and to work towards the promotion of neighbourly relations and cooperation.
    Abdullah Dayo – Sir Ji, I will live in Hope and Die in Despair!

  • Someone
    May 27, 2016 - 6:32AM

    @Bharat: Through Chabbar you can go to the Central Asian countries, and through Gwadar you can go to China but not to Afghanistan and Central Asia

    The world wants to go to China, not Afghanistan.. or Central Asia.. or even Iran. Therein lies your problem. Recommend

  • سے Shaam (Hanafi)
    May 27, 2016 - 6:56AM

    Yes, Chabhar is a game changer, one there are 4 stake holders to the pie i.e. Afghanistan, India, Iran and Japan. It is closer to Gulf of Oman that means it effectively cuts of Gawadar from Gulf region due to its location. Gawadar is closer to Karachi port and then again, you have the ports lined up across the great Indian peninsula. Gawadar is sandwiched b/w chabhar and Indian ports. With Afghanistan, Iran and India, you have more landmass covering central Asia. Gawadar will ultimately be Chinese corridor to Pakistan only (And not to forget the disputed territories in its way i.e. Kashmir); Finally, Balauch line up the entire motorway for Chabhar traditional foes of the Pakistanis.Recommend

  • Raj - USA
    May 27, 2016 - 7:27AM

    According to the plans drawn by USA in 2006, Pakistan does not even connect to China and Gwadar does not fall under Pakistan’s territory. USA has circulated detailed maps of the New Middle East back in 2006 itself.
    Read this and see the new map of Middle East and Pakistan that USA is working on:

  • May 27, 2016 - 9:20AM

    Chahbahar will not be a game changer. It will just reflect the changing alliances in the region, nothing else. It can’t compete with Gwadar, Gawadar got its own importance.Recommend

  • Rizkhan
    May 27, 2016 - 9:59AM

    Trade with Afghanistan via land route through Pakistan will always remain a dream for India. Spend Millions of $ on Chabahar, still will not be logistically cost effective. CPEC is game changer for China, Pakistan and central Asian states. Chabahar will just be a tyre changing with no strategic gain.Recommend

  • Raw is War
    May 27, 2016 - 10:28AM


    You are mistaken. Chabahar will open up Afghanistan to the world. Afghanistan can now trade with the whole world and not be blackmailed by Pakistan. Also USA will have quick access to Afghanistan. They will not have stolen containers.

    All in all . it will be a disaster for Pakistan. They will have less importance now and cannot bllackmail anybody.Recommend

  • Someone
    May 27, 2016 - 12:12PM

    @Raj – USA: That map has been on internet forums for years and has no factual basis. The fact that it shows Afghanistan annexing Pakistani territory (when the opposite is most likely) shows it’s a complete joke and most likely drawn by an amateur. Drawing a fake map is easy, but thinking about its repercussions is beyond imaginations. Pakistan is a huge, huge country of 200 million and bigger than all other Middle East states. But let’s suppose even if the map were to become reality – one thing is for sure; India would definitely not survive and remain in one piece. So any such scenario is an existential threat for India, especially with nuclear conflict added into the mix.Recommend

  • Abid
    May 27, 2016 - 2:22PM

    “Made in China” ….is a bigger brand name than slightly reliable but unknown “Made in India”….so i would back China to finish off the job in a professional way then India….biased…yea…offcourse….but i have a point!Recommend

  • Amit
    May 27, 2016 - 2:40PM

    First of all Indian gdp is 2.5 trillion and not 1.8. Secondly there are many backers for chabahar project that include India, Iran, Japan along with Russia itself which is a member of INSTC as well as Ashgabat agreement and infact US has also given tacit approval. Third even if China is 11 trillion economy it does not mean it will put 11 trillion for gwadar port development. Over all 46 billion has been committed for CPEC and India has committed more than 20 billion itself for Chabahar along with Japan also participating in the project with extra investment. 20 billion is equal to total forex reserve of Pakistan???????Recommend

  • hafeez
    May 27, 2016 - 3:05PM

    it would have been far more interesting and informative if a map was also included to make the the article more meaningful, at least that’s what I think.Recommend

  • Sad but True
    May 27, 2016 - 5:27PM

    A simple question: would an importer/exporter in Pakistan use Karachi or Gawadar port?Recommend

  • Somer
    May 27, 2016 - 9:45PM

    Russia wanted Afghanistan and look what happened.
    States wanted them and look what happened.
    Now its India turn .

    Go India — invest everything in Afghanistan. :)

    we will will anxiously await the results. :)Recommend

  • sterry
    May 27, 2016 - 10:02PM

    @someone: Pakistanis want Afghans to only use Chabahar and to bypass Pakistan altogether. While they are at it, all the Afghan refugees should also move to India and leave Pakistan alone.Recommend

  • Parvez
    May 27, 2016 - 11:00PM

    Something that looks good on paper does not always look that good in practice. Here we are talking about a long road stretch in Afghanistan among other things…….anyone with practical experience of logistics in the region will tell you it’s a difficult proposition……very difficult.Recommend

  • BlackHat
    May 27, 2016 - 11:45PM

    A lot of you are so juvenile. Is it possible to be objective and see if your government’s policies benefit your neighbors? Because if they do, they will definitely benefit your own people. Chahbahar and Gwadar are not mutually exclusive, they may not even be sufficient to serve the entire Eurasian continent for its need to access the ocean.

    We are people who have been colonized for a long time. Subjected to Devide & Rule. Are we still going to play the same game when our colonizer have moved on to a different party?

    Also, remember Chahbahar serves three signatory countries at the least, not counting others. CPEC caters only to China. Soon Pakistan’s nascent industry will be reminiscent. China doesn’t put all eggs in one basket. She is already making OROB deals with everyone including her “enemies”.

    Get wise soon. Good luck.Recommend

  • ibs
    May 28, 2016 - 12:58AM

    Oh the Indian trolls that try to make themselves happy. Its hilarious.Recommend

  • Abbassin
    May 28, 2016 - 1:43AM

    @Guru Vivekanand: Pakistanis have every right to discuss “Gwadar” as it is part of Pakistan. Further, any article appearing in a Pakistani paper is of interest and concern to us-the question is what are you and your kind doing in a space which does not belong to you? Nosy and irritating neighbors, with nothing better to do, eh? Have a good day. Recommend

  • May 28, 2016 - 8:35AM

    Please pakistan invest the money chahbhar port..Recommend

  • Srinivasulu Mekala
    May 28, 2016 - 8:39AM

    Please do not get worked up. Visit any Indian newspaper and read the Pakistani trolling; some Indian newspapers do not moderate, in such cases the language used by Pakistani trolls will put pigs to shame. As for Tejas vs Thandaar, etc, better we stop comparison. We want to go our way, you please go your way. For sometime India should forget that there is a country called Pakistan and so should Pakistan about India.Recommend

  • Jivi
    May 28, 2016 - 1:40PM

    Comparing Gawadar to Chbahar is like comparing Water Melon to a cherry,once CPEC is established the world order will change,adding another port next to BandarAbbas,will only facilities a new trade route and that’s it,just adding a new market.99% people here don’t even know what CPEC is about.Recommend

  • Maryam
    May 28, 2016 - 7:06PM

    This route would provide an easy and alternative access to landlocked Afghanistan to Arabian Sea and Persian Gulf instead of relying on unstable Pakistani route. Seriously? The law and order situation in Pakistan is on the way of improvement and is improving day by day. But this’ not the case in Afghanistan as it has to travel long way to attain stability. Thus, the prospect of Chabahar at least for Afghanistan {seems to me} is less.Recommend

  • sterry
    May 28, 2016 - 8:39PM

    @Maryam: With Chabahar and Afghanistan / Iran / India deal, Pakistan now has the legitimacy to fence, mine and wall the border with Afghanistan. This will even further improve law and order situation in Pak. We know that most violence, weapons and prostitution comes from Kabul so it can be stopped. Also lots of refugees can be shipped back to Iran to take the route to Afghanistan. Things in economy in Pakistan is finally improving which is why India is sending more agents like Yadav through Afghanistan. Pak country needs to have laser wall all around to stop them getting in. This is win – win for Pakistan. Pakistan can access Central Asia via Tajikistan and CPEC and say good bye to Afghanistan once and for all. Afghanistan and its people can now take boat to India from Iran!Recommend

  • Khan
    Jun 2, 2016 - 8:45PM

    Beforelines talk or even think about closing borders you have to think twice about Duran line dudeRecommend

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