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‘The East is rising again’: Peter Frankopan

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Jaipur: The West is giving up its predominant role in global politics and economics to the East Asiaspreading from the Middle to the Far East in this century and the significance of the ancient “Silk Roads”, which were once the hub of commerce, culture and knowledge, is slowly getting restored, says historian Peter Frankopan.

The Silk Roads area will shape the next century as it plays a significant role in the hydrocarbon economy, and in one sense, the terrorist outrages taking place in the European capitals and elsewhere arise from the Middle East, which is its significant part, said Oxford academician Peter Frankopan at a session titled “The Silk Roads” at the Jaipur Literature Festival on Sunday.

“Control over networks was the story of the 19th century, the 20th century and will be the story of the 21 century but now Eastern nations like India and China will be resuming eminence,” he contended.

Frankopan, who in his new book “The Silk Roads: A New History of the World” seeks to reassess the role of the east where civilization itself began and the world’s great religions were born and flourished but was eclipsed by the advent of colonialism from the western hemisphere from around the 15th century, says the East’s role in shaping the world has not been sufficiently known.

Confessing himself influenced by Luke Skywalker, Alexander the Great and Indiana Jones, he said that he is in his book had sought to address the deficiency of the role of East.

Legendary travel writer Colin Thubron, who has travelled most of the Silk Roads region and described his adventures in a series of inimitable travelogues, noted Frankopan’s book takes history back from the West and was an awesome feat of scholarship and the range of sources that had been consulted would need one knowing 15 to 16 languages.

Frankopan also sought to clarify that there was no such thing as a single Silk Road but rather a series of Silk Roads or networks that linked continents and oceans together, and “along which flowed ideas, goods, disease and death and empires were won and lost”.

And in the contemporary world, the patterns of exchange are mirroring those that were seen in the Silk Roads, as his book says.

On the significance of the area, he said it represented three things were the best of the human species – the willingness and ability to communicate, the ability to cooperate and curiosity.

“This is what brings me and you all to the Jaipur Literature Festival,” he noted, adding it was along the Silk Roads that the goods and ideas that have shaped and influenced the world flowed till nearly half a millennia ago, when the focus shifted to the western hemisphere and colonialism which was based on unequal relationships and duplicity.

He noted that in the era that the Silk Roads set the pattern for the world and Europe didn’t figure into it, since it never had any resources that could be traded, while there were more Christians in Asia then that had been in Europe till at least the 13th century

On the role of India vis-a-vis China in the new order he sketches, Frankopan quipped he was a “historian, not a prophet”, but noted from what he understood India and China had been in competition for several centuries now for the leadership of neighbouring areas.

Stressing that regional cooperation was important, he said he got the impression that India was disengaging itself from the region.(IANS)(Image-wordpress)

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All You Need To Know About India’s Strategic Chabahar Port

The Chabahar Port is a seaport in Chabahar, which is on the Gulf of Oman, near Iran-Pakistan border.

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Chabahar Port is of great international significance in terms of trade, especially for India. Wikimedia Commons
Chabahar Port is of great international significance in terms of trade, especially for India. Wikimedia Commons

By Ruchika Verma

  • The Chabahar Port is of great strategic importance for India
  • It is in Iran and is being built and operated by India
  • This port will increase India’s trade with Central Asia and Europe

The Chabahar Port is a seaport in Chabahar, which is on the Gulf of Oman, near Iran-Pakistan border. Chabahar is the trans-shipment and logistics hub for the Makran Coast and Baluchistan province of Iran.

Chabahar Port is built and operated by India. Wikimedia Commons
Chabahar Port is built and operated by India. Wikimedia Commons

The tension between India and Pakistan is nothing new. There are several instances where both the countries have tried to obstruct each other’s political or economic agendas. This obstruction, along with other strategic reasons, resulted in the India and Iran’s deal on the Chabahar Port, which is crucial because of several reasons.

Here are few things about it you may not have known before :

  • Under the Trilateral Transit and Transport Agreement of 2016, the Chabahar port is the gateway to the Transport Corridor between India, Iran and Afghanistan, which allows multi-modal goods’ and passengers’ transport.

Also Read: India and Iran sign agreement to develop Chabahar Port

  • The agreement also states that India will develop and operate two berths in the first phase of the port. The contract is for 10 years and extendable. This time period excludes the first two years as they will be used for construction.
Chabahar Port will make India's trade with Afghanistan easier. Wikimedia Commons
Chabahar Port will make India’s trade with Afghanistan easier. Wikimedia Commons
  • The Chabahar Port’s first phase, which was developed by India, and inaugurated by Iran on 4th December 2017, is of great strategic importance as it makes it easier for India to conduct trade with Central Asia and Europe.
  • Iran’s Chabahar port is also important for India’s trade because of Pakistan’s reluctance in allowing India to send goods to Iran and Afghanistan through its land territory.

Also Read: Gwadar Port: China Turning Pakistan Port Into Regional Giant 

  • The development of Chabahar Port will increase the momentum of the International North-South Transport Corridor whose signatories include India, Afghanistan and Russia. Iran is the key gateway in this project. It will improve India’s trade with Central Asia as well as Europe.
    The Chabahar Port has also reduced Afghanistan’s dependence on the transit road, which went through Karachi. Now, trade can be conducted via Chabahar Port too. Islamabad has accused India of trying to use this development as a means to destabilise Pakistan.

    The Chabar Port is the said to be the counter to the Gwadar Port. Wikimedia Commons
    The Chabar Port is the said to be the counter to the Gwadar Port. Wikimedia Commons
  • The Chabahar Port also acts as a counter to the barely 100 km away, Gwadar port in Pakistan, which is developed by China. However, Iran has defended that Chabahar is not a rival to Gwadar and Pakistan is invited to join in its development.
  • In October 2017, India sent its first shipment of wheat to through Chabahar to Afghanistan, in order to test the viability of the route.
  • India will also construct a 900-km Chabahar-Zahedan-hajigak railway line that will connect Port of Chabahar to Hajigak in Afghanistan. It will also connect Mashad in the north, providing access to Turkmenistan as well as northern Afghanistan.This project is worth $1.6 billion.

    India will supply $400 million worth of steel rails to Tehrain. Wikimedia Commons
    India will supply $400 million worth of steel rails to Tehran. Wikimedia Commons
  • It is being said that India will supply $400 million of steel rails to Tehran. There are also possibilities of setting up a fertilizer plant through a joint venture with the Iranian government.