Saturday, January 16, 2021

Strong India-Iran Ties with Chabahar-Zahedan Rail Link Put Iran-Pakistan Relations in Doubt

India-Iran ties have been strengthening with leaders of both nations making the efforts to cement bilateral strategies. President Rouhani and PM Modi have met on several occasions in the past to discuss and work on India-Iran ties, however with Iran-Pakistan relations bettering, would the India-Iran ties weaken? While India gets access to central Asia with the Chabahar-Zahedan rail link, will India-Iran ties remain resilient?

Iran has always shown a diplomatic front, often maintaining diplomacy with other nations, at once. After Iranian FM visited India, to work on stronger India-Iran ties, he also visited Pakistan later to pacify the Iran-Pakistan relations.

Why is India Nervous with Chinese Investments in Iran’s Chabahar Port?

India-Iran Ties Cement at Chabahar Port

President Rouhani visited India signifying the unifying India-Iran ties with New Delhi acquiring, an 18-month lease, access to control the operations at the Iranian Chabahar port. This has given India the access to Central Asia with Iran as the link. As a countermeasure, PM Modi had announced that India would support the India-Iran ties through support for the Chabahar-Zahedan rail link. Modi also extended support in the energy sector and strengthening bilateral relations between the two nations.

However, these strengthening India-Iran ties in no way ascertain disintegration of the Iran-Pakistan relations. As reported by The Indian Express, after the Iranian FMs recent visit to pacify Pakistan, he stated:

“Our relations with India, just like Pakistan’s relations with Saudi Arabia, are not against Pakistan as we understand Pakistan’s relations with Saudi Arabia are not against Iran.”

Iran-Pakistan share a strategic relationship, for example, Pakistan’s need to buy gas and Iran’s need to sell it. Additionally, the border tensions between the two and the other nations included in this tension make both nations vulnerable.

Is Pakistan trying to weaken the India-Iran ties?

Pakistan’s Chief of Army visited Iran as a ‘goodwill visit’ right after India-Iran ties strengthened at the Chabahar port. Iran welcomed Pakistan, as cooperation on the missile tech was discussed between the two and also Iran’s interest in being a part of China’s BRI initiative.

Booming US-India Ties Creates Platform for Strong Russia-Pakistan Relations?

For Iran, China’s influence and investment in Pakistan is an economic opportunity. While India remains resistant to the BRI initiative, Iran is trying to link the Chabahar and the Gwadar port to receive the best of economic possibilities from all corners. Pakistan has also supposedly helped Iran in the fight against terrorism, a notion that is opposite to what India believes. Iran is also unsure of the cementing India-US relations. Iran-India ties contradict on the American administration in Afghanistan. However, Iran and Pakistan also contradict on several levels like the training of the Syrian rebels.  It is thus too soon to predict how the Iran-Pakistan relations will ultimately affect the India-Iran ties.

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