China-Iran ties

Last year New York Time magazine highlighted Sino-Iran “comprehensive strategic partnership”, based upon the leaked draft of 18 pages agreement, that it is expected that China is going to invest $400bn in Iran in different 17 projects, covering several fields of nuclear energy, port, trade and transport. Both countries also agreed to build a joint bank that would help Iran to avoid degradation of currency: 42105.00 Iranian Riyal is equivalent to 1 USD, and US financial embargoes. In response, China will build free trade zones across Iran and will also allow access to oil and gas at a low market price rate for 25 years. Despite acquiring the goal to boost its economy, China would also foothold in the Middle East in order to eliminate the hegemony of unilateral power. The Wall Street Journal mentioned that the economic and security agreement would deepen China’s hegemony in the region and undermine US efforts to prevent Iran from suspicious nuclear development activities. China would not only foothold in the Middle East but also get transit route access to Central Asian and Caucasus countries including the Black sea port of Georgia. China foreign ministry spokesman Yi Wang visit to six Middle East countries in late March described the increasing thirst of China for sovereignty and fuel. China is expanding its influence in neighbour countries to create a multi-polar dimension of power and economy through the BRI project. China would enhance major influence in the world’s most vital chokepoint: the Strait of Hormuz through which 21 million barrels of oil, estimated worth of $1.2 billion passes daily. Twin sister’s ports, Gwadar and Chabehar, apart 172 km apart from each other may change the game of geopolitical strategies of regional countries. China-Iran ties will have an adverse implication on Indo-Iran relations. India has already inaugurated trade of millions of dollars in the development of Chabehar port and railway infrastructure. India craves to use Chabehar port as an alternative route to approach Central Asian markets bypassing Pakistan. India has invested $13.4 million in various projects including building Chabehar- Zahidan railway line but could not materialize due to pressure from Trump’s administration. The new US administration is showing little interest in the relaxing sanction on Iran. However, despite the US’s existing pressure, China is becoming a headache for India in Iran. India may lose its influence in Iran and get a little bit of access to Central Asian energy markets of oil and gas due to its ecstatic relations with Afghanistan. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani several times called Pakistan to give transit route access to India to boost trade in threesome countries. The refusal of the proposal compelled India to use the Chabehar port but now China has gained a strong position as a rival to India in Iran.

MIRAJ KHAN,

Bannu.

 

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