India, Iran sign pact to aid movement of seafarers
About India-Iran relations
- India and Iran on 21st August 2022 signed a memorandum of understanding on recognition of Certificates of Competency in Unlimited Voyages.
- This is aimed to help the movement of seafarers between the two countries as per the provisions of the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, 1978.
About Chabahar Port:
- Chabahar is located in south eastern Iran, on the Gulf of Oman.
- Chabahar port consists of two separate ports named Shahid Kalantari and Shahid Beheshti.
- India and Iran’s plans to develop Shahid Beheshti port was started in 2003, this however was delayed due to US sanctions against Iran.
- In December 2018, India Ports Global Private Ltd. (IPGPL) assumed the operations of Shahid Beheshti Port.
- Iran wants to develop Chabahar port since Bandar Abbas port is not a deep-water port and cannot handle the oceangoing cargo ships.
- India wants to develop Chabahar port since India has a plan to construct a 900-km Chabahar-Zahedan-Hajigak railway line that would connect Chabahar to the mineral-rich Hajigak region of Afghanistan.
- The port is also intended to provide an alternative for trade between India and Afghanistan as it is 800 kilometres closer to the border of Afghanistan than Pakistan’s Karachi port.
- The return of Taliban to power in Afghanistan has limited India’s potential action in the region. The security concerns and influence of Pakistan on Taliban makes development projects in Afghanistan a risky endeavour.
- The withdrawal of the US from the JCPOA and reimposition of sanctions on Iran have made India hesitant to invest in the country. While there have been renegotiations in the past year, it has not been fruitful as of now.
- Iran’s Sistan and Baluchestan Province, in which Chabahar port is located, is also the stage for insurgent activity by the insurgent group Jundallah, which claims to be fighting for the rights of Sunni Muslims, and the local ethnic Baloch.
Source The Hindu
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