Afghanistan’s foreign minister asked India on Monday to expedite development of a strategic port in Iran to bolster a trade route for land-locked Central Asian countries that would bypass Pakistan.
The port would allow India to transport goods to Afghanistan by sea. Pakistan currently does not allow India to transport through its territory to Afghanistan.Last year, India committed up to $500 million for the development of the Chabahar port along with associated roads and rail lines.
Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj responded that India would speed up the port development and begin supplying wheat to Afghanistan within weeks through Chabahar.
In his new Afghanistan strategy unveiled last month, United States President Donald Trump asked India to do more to help Afghanistan’s development.
Afghan Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani also asked India to expand an air freight corridor introduced between the two countries in June to provide greater access for Afghan goods to the Indian market.
It seems that both India and Afghanistan are worried about CPEC development that would give a massive edge to Pakistan on its regional rivals; therefore both the countries were trying to break the hex of CPEC.
Apart from India and Afghanistan, US has also reservations on the development of CPEC as it would give China an upper edge both in economic terms and in strategic terms and also Russian growing interest in the CPEC is alarming for US.
Thus it seems that US has also agreed to support Chahbhar tacitly because of its rivalry to Iran and therefore US is pushing both Afghanistan and India to kick off work on Chabhar.