From Gwadar to Chabahar— A tale of conspiracies against Pakistan
By Agha Iqrar Haroon
The arrest of RAW spy and handler Kulbhushan Yadav while entering Pakistan from Iran at Pak-Iran border was followed by the arrest of an agent of Afghan National Directorate of Security (NDS) from Baluchistan. These two developments were enough to expose intensive work done by intelligence agencies to make China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) a failure.
Information given by Indian handler Yadev confirmed that Afghan National Directorate of Security (NDS) is working as a second fiddle to RAW to destabilize Pakistan and their core targets are Gwadar Port and CPEC—– projects that are considered by Pakistan and China as game changer in the region.
India and Afghanistan are working jointly to promote Iranian deep sea port of Chabahar against Gwadar Port of Pakistan. This is now an open secret that India is nakedly involved in sponsoring terrorism in Pakistan and to destabilize CPEC project with the active support of Afghan intelligence NDS. Sources added that RAW spy Yadev who is a serving officer in Indian Navy shared certain information during interrogation and such information led to the arrest of a NDS operator who had been living in Pakistan since long for helping terrorists to destabilize areas where CPEC project will run and would connect Gwadar Port to Chinese city of Kashi (Kashgar).
Meanwhile, India is trying its best to stop Central Asian states to opt Gwadar Port for their international trade hub as all Central Asia countries are landlocked and they are using mostly Balkan ports and India is luring Central Asia republics to use Chabahar Port of Iran that will be fully operational by December 2016.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a tour of the Central Asian Republics (CARs)—Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan in last July and sold the idea of connecting CARs with Chabahar Port through North South Corridor. This Corridor (route) starts from Kandla port of India to Chabahar port of Iran via sea and then moves on towards Central Asia through Iranshar, Zahedan and Mashhad. From Mashhad, it enters to Turkmenistan and crosses Chardzhor and then enters Uzbekistan at Bokhara. It runs from Bokhara to Tashkent and enters Kyrgyzstan via Dzhambul. This routes ends at Almty city of Kazakhstan. This route will not only time consuming rather expensive for cargo handlers of Central Asia. Mr. Modi was not very successful to sell this idea because North South Corridor is too long and too expensive option for CARs while Gwadar port of Pakistan is in their proximity (provided peace and security is ensured in Afghanistan—–a bed of thorns lies between Pakistan and Central Asia).
Receiving a lukewarm response from Central Asian states during the visit of Mr. Modi, India started work on another option for offering a shorter route to CARs to reach Chabahar port.
Now India has decided to finance a new route that will run in Northern Afghanistan in the proximity of Central Asian borders. India will release a huge amount of over 5 billion rupees for new route that will run from Heart-Leman-Bala Murghab—Cormach—Maymaneh—Andkhoy—Karamkal—Shaberghan—Aqchach to Mazar Sharif. It may be mentioned that every country of Central Asia is already connected with Mazar Sharif. New road networking will enable Chabahar to connect with other central Asia states while bypassing Turkmenistan and through Afghanistan, minimizing journey and cargo cost for Central Asian states of Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan to reach Chabahar port for international trade.
Development observers believe that Indian investment for uplifting road network to connect Chabahar port with Central Asia through a new road networking looks an attempt to diminish the importance of $46 billion project of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) that can be shortest possible route to connect Central Asian republics with Gwadar Port to enhance Central Asian world trade.
India has already invested over $ 960,000 over Route 606 that is also known as Delaram–Zaranj Highway inside Afghanistan. The length of this route is over 200km. It connects Delaram (border city of Afghanistan) to Zaranj (Capital of Nimruz province of Afghanistan). Construction of this project started in 2005 and road was opened for trade in year 2009.
Financial interests of India, Iran and Afghanistan are knotted in Chabahar port while Pakistan’s interests are connected with CPEC and Gwadar port.
This complex situation narrates the saga of fragile relations of Pakistan with its two important neighbours —-Iran and Afghanistan and of course the mechanism how India can use both of them against Pakistan anytime it wishes because economic interests are real foundation of foreign relations in today’s world.
The views and opinions expressed in this article/Opinion/Comment are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Dispatch News Desk. Assumptions made within the analysis are not reflective of the position of Dispatch News Desk