By Brig Anil Gupta (Retd.)*
MAY 25, 2016
Chabahar is a deep-sea port located in Sistan-Baluchistan area of Iran at the mouth of Gulf of Oman. It is a strategically located port because it provides direct access to the Indian Ocean, enabling bypassing of Strait of Hormuz, a traditional choke point that separates Persian Gulf from the Gulf of Oman and the Indian Ocean. Incidentally, 1/5th of oil consumed worldwide currently passes through the Strait of Hormuz.
Chabahar lies outside the Persian Gulf and can be easily accessed from India’s western coast. In fact, the distance from New Delhi to Mumbai is more than the distance from India’s Kandla port on western coast to Chabahar. It is located 45 nautical miles away from the port of Gwadar which is being built by China in Pakistan’s Balochistan. Gwadar is the outlet to Indian Ocean from the proposed China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) termed as a “game changer” in the region by both the Chinese and the Pakistanis. Gwadar provides tremendous strategic advantage to China, not only in its pursuit of encircling India, but also in the domination of Indian Ocean an unchallenged domain of India so far.