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India says terrorists can’t be backed for political convenience

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Zhengzhou (China): India on Tuesday said political convenience can no longer be an alibi for backing terrorism and called for closer coordination between the member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) to fight the scourge.

“International terrorism has emerged as the most serious threat to our peaceful and pluralistic societies,” Minister of State for External Affairs VK Singh said while addressing the meeting of heads of government of the SCO grouping in this Chinese city.

“Closer coordination between SCO member states and zero tolerance towards terrorism will go a long way to addressing this menace. Political convenience can no longer provide an alibi for backing terrorist groups ideologically, financially or through material support,” he said.

The SCO is an intergovernmental organisation founded in Shanghai on June 15, 2001, by six countries — China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

Among other things, the SCO aims to enhance regional security through the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) and build connectivity.

India and Pakistan were given the full membership of the organisation at its plenary held in the Russian city of Ufa in July this year.

“One of our most important goals remains a stable and peaceful Afghanistan free of external interference,” Singh said in Tuesday’s meeting also attended by Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

“This is absolutely essential to advance peace, stability and prosperity in the region.”

Singh also said India looked forward to the speedy completion of its full membership “so that we can involve ourselves fully in SCO’s programmes and activities at the earliest”.

According to him, there was enormous scope to push forward SCO’s economic and developmental agenda.

“India’s fast-growing market provides an immense economic opportunity, especially for the relatively smaller economies of Central Asia. India’s energy requirements can be met by new and more ambitious energy projects within the SCO bringing on board the interests of energy exporting, transit and importing nations,” the minister said.

He said India, on its part, could bring to the region its strengths in financial management, especially micro-finance, pharmaceuticals, services such as information technology and healthcare, as well as capacity building.

“The SCO should create a facilitating environment for trade and investment. We should bring down barriers to trade and enhance links between our businesses, especially our small and medium enterprises.

“We can also work together on issues of food security and agriculture,” he said.

He said that though the past few years have witnessed a steady growth of new modes of connectivity in the region, progress in this regard was still limited.

“As we move ahead, we should invest in improving regional transportation and communication networks through mutual consultation and sharing of benefits,” he said.

“On this basis, we can create new networks of physical and digital connectivity that extends from Russia’s northern regions to the shores of Indian Ocean. The International North-South Transportation Corridor is an important step in that direction.”

Singh said, “a young and dynamic India, constituting one-sixth of humanity, which is growing at nearly 8 percent per year is joining the SCO to usher in a new phase of friendship with our partners”.(IANS)

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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.