According to news reports, for the first time, India, Iran and Uzbekistan will hold a trilateral dialogue on December 14, 2020 on joint use of the strategically located Chabahar port in Iran. Developed by Iran, India, and Afghanistan, Chabahar is the fulcrum of Eurasian connectivity. For India, it strategically helps to alleviate geographical hindrance created by the presence of Pakistan. Our earlier article has explained in detail on how Chabahar port plays a role for India and what are the developments in recent times.
Uzbekistan’s Interest in Chabahar Port – The Significance
Uzbekistan shares a land boundary with Afghanistan. Thus, it takes India’s network further. Uzbekistan showing interest to take part in the Chabahar port and using it as a transit port has brought strength to the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) in which India has a stake.
It was an initiative that took shape way back in 2002 between India, Iran, and Russia. Gradually more countries have joined the bandwagon, such as Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bulgaria, Kazakhstan to name a few. Put together, INSTC is a 7,200-km-long multi-mode transport project for moving freight among India, Iran, Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Russia, Central Asia and Europe.
To put it in perspective, once this is fully operationalised, the transportation between India and Russia will reduce from the present 40 days to 25 days. It is expected that this Eurasian connectivity programme will greatly boost India’s export.
India has been pitching for Uzbekistan’s participation in INSTC, and the latter’s interest in having Chabahar port as its transit port has pushed the things in the direction that India wanted.