India Iran

India is poised to counter the recently announced $46-billion expansion of China’s strategic footprint in Pakistan with a foothold on the Iranian coast. New Delhi is set to ink a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the development and operation of Chabahar port in Iran, taking into account the international obligations that arise out of Tehran’s nuclear programme.

Merely 72 km west of China-developed Gwadar port in Pakistan’s restive province of Baluchistan, Chabahar, on the mouth of the Straits of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf, provides India a land-sea access route into Afghanistan and Central Asia through the Bandar Abbas-Caspian Sea axis.

The MoU is expected to be signed in Tehran by roads, transport and shipping minister Nitin Gadkari very soon.