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Balancing Security and Development: The Case of Chabahar, Iran; By Brian Storch

C3S Paper No. 0093/ 2015

Abstract:

The trilateral project between India, Afghanistan and Iran for a trade route from Chabahar, Iran to Western Afghanistan was once viewed by all three nations as a catalyst for regional prosperity and stability. However, the project is still not completed after more than a decade of negotiations. Many argue that India and Iran are distancing themselves from the project as a result of pressure from other regional powers.  It is also speculated that India is distancing itself from the project in order to facilitate a growing partnership with the United States and honor recent international sanctions on Iran.

However, India’s concern for regional security and stability keep the project alive but in a slowly moving state. In fact, India has too much at stake to abandon the Chabahar project. By maintaining regional influence through inhibiting economic development to its northwest, India may be able to keep the entire region secure and stable. The Chabahar port deal is India’s most likely way to secure and develop Iran and Afghanistan without the destabilizing influence of Pakistan.

In this report, I will analyze the development and security enhancing potential of the Chabahar project and its effects on regional and global geopolitics. The realities of the current geopolitical situation that influence the current state of the deal will be examined. Then, I will assess which options for the Indian government maximize both security and development, while avoiding further regional conflict and destabilization.

A Short History of the Chabahar Deal

  1. Declarations of Cooperation

Initially, the deal for India to financially back a port in Chabahar was the culmination of the favorable relations that defined the Indo-Iranian relationship.  In the first decade of the twenty first century, Iran and India signed the Tehran Declaration (April 10th, 2001) and the New Delhi Declaration (January, 25th, 2003). [i]  With the latter declaration, made during a visit by the Iranian President Khatami to India, a strategic partnership was established.

India promised to construct naval facilities and improve port facilities in the Iranian port of Chabahar in the Oman Sea.[ii] Both declarations, along with a series of MOUs, promised increased military cooperation through Indian training and upgrading of Iranian naval and security technologies.[iii] The deal would consolidate regional military and economic influence for both of the nations.

  1. The Addition of Afghanistan

The deal was made more valuable by the presence of the new Afghan government in 2002. The new regime in Kabul wanted to improve relations with both India and Iran because it was desperate for economic development opportunities. India also had interests in supporting the new regime and supported Afghanistan’s 2007 admittance to SAARC. [iv]

The route through Chabahar is strategically important because it provides access to Afghanistan without interference from Pakistan. Nearly all of Afghanistan’s sea trade routes go through Pakistan’s sea port in Karachi and Pakistan charges an estimated five hundred million US dollars for Afghanistan’s use of Karachi a year.[v]  Pakistan also continually denies access of Indian trade to Afghanistan through its borders to keep Indian influence out of Afghanistan.[vi] A new trade route from Chabahar to western Afghanistan would offer India access to the new regime’s emerging market and untapped resources without interference from Pakistan.

The initial deal was for India to invest money and manpower into expanding and modernizing the Chabahar port.  India expanded the deal by committing to construct a 235 kilometer road from the Iran-Afghanistan border to Delaram, Afghanistan.[vii]  Iran committed to expanding railways in its eastern provinces in order to make access between Chabahar and Western Afghanistan cheaper and quicker.[viii]

  1. Additional Agreements

A series of deals and investments were made from 2003 and 2014 to make the Chabahar deal more lucrative. Iran lifted many trading restrictions on the port of Chabahar for Afghanistan.  Afghanistan was granted full access to Chabahar’s storage facilities, as well as permission for full inspection of the site for Afghan government officials.[ix] Port fees were cut by ninety percent while warehousing was cut by fifty percent for Afghanistan.[x]

India made additional agreements for investments in Afghan and Iranian natural resource sectors. The Indian nationalized steel company, SAIL signed a contract with the Afghan government in 2011 to build iron mining operations, as well as steel manufacturing plants in Afghanistan’s western provinces, Hajigak and Bamiyan.[xi]  In 2014, India pledged a loan of 100 million US dollars for further upgrade the Chabahar port. [xii]

India also invested heavily into prospected energy sources in Eastern Iran.  In 2010, India was Iran’s third largest market for Iranian crude oil and natural gas, with Iran providing nearly eleven percent of India’s crude oil by 2010.[xiii]  Bilateral agreements allowed Indian companies to make investments in exploring and opening fields in Iran’s South Pars region, which was estimated to potentially yield ten billion U.S dollars, or six million tons of natural gas.[xiv]

In 2010, Iran invested in a 9.6 billion US dollar modernization and restructuring project for its rail system, which would make Chabahar the end route for two new rail lines that are planned for the North-South Corridor project.[xv]  If completed, this project could open all of Europe directly to China, Central Asia and South East Asia through land routes. A connection of Chabahar to this system may one day make a short and efficient trade route from southern Russia and Eastern Europe directly to Mumbai, India.

  1. Effects of deepening Indo-US Relations, 2005-2015

In the past ten years, changes in geopolitics contributed to the sidelining and slowing of business deals between India and Iran. The distancing of relations came exactly as India and the United States forged closer diplomatic ties.  In 2005, a joint session was conducted by the Bush and Singh administrations over a possible agreement on India’s controversial acquisition of nuclear weapons.[xvi] Although previous American administrations tried to enforce harsh penalties on India over nuclear tests, the Bush administration began negotiations that led to the 2008 123 agreement for renewed trade of nuclear materials to India.[xvii]

Aspects of the deal stalled for years but were finalized in early 2015 by the Modi and Obama administrations.[xviii] India, without an indigenous source of enriched uranium, would benefit greatly from its newly recognized right to acquire uranium.  The India’s civilian nuclear facilities are in urgent need of natural uranium to maintain productivity.[xix]

 India’s relationship with Iran suffered a result of growing Indo-US ties. India took an ambiguous stance following U.N Security Council sanctions on Iran for its secretive nuclear program.[xx] In 2006 and 2009, India voted in the International Atomic Energy Agency for greater enforcement of international safeguards on the Iranian nuclear program.[xxi]

The then ruling Singh administration stressed that the votes were in no way punitive towards Iran and only made to ensure Iran becomes a civilian-use only nuclear state.[xxii] India continues to recognize Iran’s sovereign right to create enriched uranium for peaceful purposes.[xxiii]  However, the regime in Iran responded by canceling many deals with private Indian corporations and denied the Indian Air Force access to Iranian airspace for a short period of time.[xxiv]

Indo-Iranian trade became limited in the years following UN sanctions on Iran. In the face of international sanctions, both the RBI and Asian Clearing Union officially ended direct trade with Iran in 2007.[xxv] Indian dependence on Iranian oil sources also reduced significantly in recent years. India replaced Iranian oil and natural gas trade with sources in Nigeria and Iraq, with Iran contributing only eleven percent of its raw energy sources.[xxvi]

Despite setbacks, neither Iran nor India officially terminated the agreement.  In 2009, the Zaranj-Delaram road was completed on the Afghanistan side by India and has been used for the transportation of Indian aid via the Chabahar port.[xxvii]  By 2014, the Iranian government awaited India’s word of commitment before the expansion constructions of the Chabahar port could begin.[xxviii]

Despite setbacks, India, Iran and Afghanistan have continued interest in the Chabahar trade route.  Both nations have a lot to gain from trade with Afghanistan, especially from a well developed and politically stable Afghanistan. In the next section, I will discuss the potential that keeps the project alive and the project’s effects on regional and international politics.

The Benefits of the Indo-Iranian-Afghan Chabahar project

India’s two primary motivations for retaining the Chabahar agreement are economic and strategic. First, better regional development in Iran, Afghanistan and Central Asia would create new markets for India to sell its products and also import raw energy, which India lacks within its own land. More importantly, India needs to maintain a military and commercial presence to its northwest in order to maintain control over and monitor security threats that exist in this unstable region.

  1. Economic Motivations

The Delhi Declaration opened India up to Iran and Central Asia’s emerging energy market.  Pakistan’s aggressive foreign policy and strategy against Indian regional influence halted India’s access to the region through Pakistan’s borders.[xxix]  By helping Iran construct a highly developed port with a large capacity, India could bypass Pakistan and move products from its ports on its northwestern coast directly to Central and West Asia. Not only would India have direct access to Iran’s emerging energy sources and market, it would be able to have an economic presence in Afghanistan and Central Asia.

Iran contains an emerging market of raw energy resources and access to West Asia and Europe. In 2010, India paid an estimated fourteen billion U.S dollars for Iranian natural gas and oil. Indian private firms pledged to invest in the exploration of Iran’s Farzad-B block, which is estimated to have a capacity to produce 21.68 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.[xxx] Indian companies are also investing in Iran’s South Pars field, which is predicted to produce six million tons of natural gas.[xxxi]

As of 2014, Indian private investment in the Farzad-B could not be finalized because of concerns over US sanctions on Iran.[xxxii] Indian investment in the South Pars fields also diminished in the face of US sanctions.[xxxiii] With the probable lift of the sanctions in July of 2015, India will be able to invest in these projects again.

Iran also contains a valuable land transit potential. It is currently planning the construction of five new rail systems that will link Iranian stations with Central Asian and Turkish transits, which would allow it direct access to Southern Russian and European markets.[xxxiv] As mentioned before, two of the new rails are planned to be directly linked to the port of Chabahar, which would also allow India unprecedented access to the same sources. [xxxv]

The North-South Transport Corridor (NSTC) is a multinational agreement, initially started by India, Russia and Iran in 2000 to establish direct trade routes from Europe to South Asia.[xxxvi] If implemented, transit time and costs of moving Indian products through Iran and into Asia and Europe could be significantly reduced.  The Hinduja Group, an Indian private investor, made a deal with the Iranian Parts and Shipping organization for transportation equipment and transit improvement in 2004.[xxxvii] In 2008, Iran threatened to replace the Hinduja Group in the deal with a “Chinese company vying for the project”. [xxxviii] This announcement came after negotiations on the project stalled due to disagreements on how the project would be administered after building.[xxxix]

These factors are reasons why the Chabahar agreement cannot be abandoned by India. This trade occurs in India’s immediate neighborhood. Therefore, leaving this project can affect regional politics in a way that could negatively affect India’s internal security. The Chabahar agreement, and by extension trade with the Eurasian continent, will increase India’s ability to influence its neighbors, have greater international influence and secure its borders.

  1. Strategic Motivations

Strategy is a primary motivator of the Chabahar project.  The Chabahar agreement is an example of India’s foreign and regional policy shift from a nonalignment strategy to a more open and confrontational strategy to adapt to the post-Cold War multipolar world.  India can create a foreign policy based on placing its influence as a stabilizing power, especially for the South and Central Asian regions.

The region to India’s northwest is a source of disorder and chaos.  Threats from Pakistan, Kashmiri Rebels, to Islamic fundamentalist militants stem from this region.  Most of India’s wars occurred along its borders with Kashmir and Pakistan. Most terrorist attacks on Indian interests were carried out by militants from Pakistan.

The Taliban, before and after U.S occupation, carried out attacks on Indians in Afghanistan, including the 1999 hijacking of an Indian passenger plane, attacks on India’s Afghan embassy and attacks on Indian workers constructing the Zaranj highway.[xl] In such a scenario, India will have to secure itself in order to improve its global economic standing. Hence it cannot ignore the strategic concerns northwest.

India has an opportunity to improve its already positive image in this region. Afghans generally regard India as a benign and beneficial influence on the nation, compared to the United State Iran and Pakistan.[xli] Iranians, especially from the Chabahar area, have an optimistic view of India’s influence[xlii]. Many residents in the region have learned Urdu in order to accommodate Indian business needs.[xliii] Even after a year of Indian and Iranian indecision in Chabahar, regional optimism for better trilateral ties remain.

India’s projects in Chabahar could help Iran gain a window to the outside world despite international sanctions. For Afghanistan, India is a neighbor to trust after years of Pakistani domination. The roads and development projects that have already been developed will be crucial for the Afghan economy and infrastructure to stand against a possible resurgence of the Taliban.

Another strategic benefit of the Chabahar port for India is that it bolsters India’s land and sea influence against China’s.  Since the U.S occupation of Afghanistan, China was also keen to make trade deals with Afghanistan and open mining projects.[xliv] China also has ambitions in the Indian Ocean. China made trade deals with Sri Lanka, Burma, Pakistan and the Bangladesh in exchange for Chinese-built ports in the Indian Ocean.[xlv]

Chabahar is too strategically important for India to abandon. Influence in West, Central and South Asia will help India improve relations with its neighbors and make its neighborhood safer. The deal will also help India reduce China’s growing influence in South Asia and the Indian Ocean.

However, the prospect of the deal affected global politics in a way that might make the deal inherently difficult or impossible to fully implement.  The region has the presence of two of the world’s most powerful nations; the United States and China. It is also a strategic base for growing radical Islamist influences to plan and carry out their operations.

In the next section, I will evaluate how the Chabahar trilateral deal effected and was affected by global politics.  The deal was watched closely by regional and global powers, which used their influences to affect the deal to their liking.  India, as an emerging global power, has to make considerations for the effects of Chabahar on international politics in order to maximize its power and internal security.

The effects of international politics on the Chabahar Agreement

Despite all of the potential benefits of the Chabahar deal, its effects on the international community may create problems that outweigh any benefits.  The way that other regional and global powers react to the trilateral agreement can potentially draw India, Iran and Afghanistan into undesirable conflicts. The deal conflicts with the interests of powerful nations that influence politics in West and South Asia.

First, the United States, whose interests concern the isolation of Iran, pressured India to leave the Chabahar deal.  The United States also offered India deals and that could bring greater benefits than the Chabahar plan. Second, the Chabahar deal could encourage an increased regional rivalry between Indian and China.  Lastly, Pakistan will not yield its policy to isolate Afghanistan from India and likely use its insurgent proxies to minimize any benefit of the Chabahar deal. By committing itself to the Chabahar deal, India is entering the politics of a volatile region which could risk the safety of Indians at home and abroad.  Therefore, the effects of the international community on the trilateral agreement could end any potential actualization of the deal.

  1. The United States

The United States and Iran have had a strained relationship since the Islamic Revolution in 1979.  In the 1980s, Iran co-conspired in insurgencies and terrorist attacks through proxies like Hezbollah to attack US interests and bases in the Middle East.[xlvi] Iran also conducted limited support for the Taliban during its war with the United States.[xlvii] The United States generally reacts to these maneuvers by encouraging the international isolation and containment of Iran diplomatically and economically.

When the United States and India began negotiations for a new nuclear deal in 2005, the United States protested against the close Indo-Iranian diplomatic relationship.[xlviii] During this process, limited diplomatic pressure was applied from the U.S Congress to add strain on the Indo-Iranian partnership. In February 2007, Tom Lantos, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee made a statement to India that the United States discourages friendly business relations with Iran, which he described as a “terrorist state”.[xlix]  U.S Congress tried and failed to amend the Civilian Nuclear Agreement with a requirement for India to end all military exercises with Iran.[l]

The Indian government publically resists US statements against the Indo-Iranian relationship.  However, India has made actions that have indicated a possible relent to U.S pressure.  When the nuclear deal talks began, the Indian government under Prime Minister Singh removed Murli Manohar Joshi, a central figure in making the Chabahar deal with Iran and an advocate of closer Indo-Iranian relations, from the post of Petroleum Minister.[li] Many critics of this action by Singh claim that it was done to please the United States during negotiations.[lii]

India’s new role as a nuclear power certainly complicated its relations with Iran. As a mentioned before, India voted against Iran in 2006 and 2009 against Iran in the UN Security Council[liii]  Although India maintains that the votes were to enforce peaceful cooperation and not to punish Iran, the Iranian government was outraged by this move. An agreement for the Indian Air Force to use Iranian airspace was suspended as a result.[liv]

 It is possible that India slowed down fulfilling its commitments to Chabahar as a direct result of US pressure. A closer relationship with the United States can give both economic and strategic advantages to India. First, Indian trade with the United States makes about 106 billion US dollars a year, an amount that is significantly higher than Indo-Iranian trade revenue.[lv] By fostering better ties with the United States through adhering to Western sanctions on Iran, India could increase this burgeoning trade relationship.

As mentioned before, the United States also provides India a solution to its natural energy deficit.  The Civilian Nuclear Cooperation Agreement allows India to legally trade in civilian-use nuclear materials that can improve existing nuclear plants and allow new facilities to be built.[lvi] As of 2015, India has already agreed to a 280 million US dollar deal with Canada for uranium supplies. [lvii] Also, the United States is expected to become the world’s largest exporter of natural gas and oil by 2017.[lviii] With the improvement in US-Indian relations from 2005 to the present, India could receive a favorable portion of this energy resource surplus.

Secondly, despite India having the second largest population in the world, it was not given a permanent seat in the UN Security Council. India lacks international influence and regional power, despite its large size and population. A more favorable position with a world power like the United States can help India gain a permanent UN Security Council seat and more international influence.  During a speech made at the Indian Parliament in 2010, US President Barak Obama expressed his support of a permanent UN Security Council seat for India.[lix]

  1. China

The Chabahar deal can possibly bring greater Chinese pressure on India. Since its initial proposal, there has been speculation the Chabahar may be on the road to becoming a port for the Indian Navy.[lx]  China could view this speculation as an attempt by India to increase its influence in the Indian Ocean while countering Chinese influence.  Both sides could be drawn into a regional rivalry over resources and ports along the Indian Ocean.

China also has stakes in Central Asian and Afghan resources. It is an investor in Afghanistan, providing major contributions to Afghan mining projects.[lxi] China also operates and contributed about eighty percent of all development funds to the port in Gwadar, Pakistan.[lxii] The Gwadar port and trade route, when completed, will provide China with greater economic access to the Indian Ocean and similar access to Afghanistan’s and the CARS as Chabahar does with India.

  1. Pakistan

The nation that has the most to lose from the trilateral Chabahar port deal is Pakistan. Since its formation in 1947, Pakistan sought policies that limit Indian influence in Afghanistan, including the refusal to allow the land transit of Indian products to Afghanistan through Pakistan’s roads.[lxiii] Any possible increase in Afghan-Indian relations are seen by the militarist regime in Pakistan as an attempt at encirclement.

 Past Indian and Pakistani attempts to gain influence in Afghanistan were largely violent and costly affairs. During the later years of the Afghan Civil War, both India and Iran supported the Northern Alliance against the Pakistan-backed Taliban regime.[lxiv] Indian and Iranian investments in the current Afghan regime reflect a collective desire to bolster the current government against a possible Taliban resurgence. Both nations would be cut off from the region and face possible insurgent attacks if the Taliban was to regain control.

Pakistan has been accused by the United States of covert support of militant groups that target India and Afghanistan, including providing a safe haven for fighters and leaders from US military actions.[lxv]  After the withdrawal of US forces in 2014, it is possible that Pakistan will increase violent actions in the region through continued covert support of insurgent militias. Indian and Afghan projects will be likely targets, including the Zaranj-Delaram highway and mining facilities.

The realities India must face in implementing the Chabahar Agreement

The history of the trilateral deal to build a trade route from Afghanistan and Central Asia to India, via the Iranian port of Chabahar, demonstrates the difficulties of optimistic prospects in the harsh and complicated climate of international relations. The heavy optimism and goodwill did not keep the deal from stalling for over a decade. There are overbearing realities that keep all sides from making the full commitment needed to make this deal work.

First, India cannot be guaranteed complete safety by Iran or Afghanistan. Inability to secure citizens and assets were reasons why India pulled out of the Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) Pipeline negotiations. Second, Iran risks escalation of its Balochi insurgency and Sunni proxy wars if Chabahar becomes a viable target. Lastly, the perceptions of the India, the United States and China, as well as their leaders affect the commitments to implementing the Chabahar deal.

  1. A Guarantee of Safety

First, safety and security cannot be guaranteed to Indian interests. Despite strategic motivations of keeping a presence in the region, security risks are high and potentially costly for India. India already lost six of its citizens and 129 Afghan hired workers during the construction of the Zaranj-Delaram Highway from insurgent attacks.[lxvi] More projects and a greater presence will certainly expose Indian civilians to militant attacks.

To invest more into Afghanistan means that India may have to invest in the current Afghan government’s capacity to defend itself from the Taliban and other Islamist militant groups. Even with the financial and technical support of the United States, the ability of the Afghan Security Forces to defend Afghanistan from the Taliban has yet to be tested or determined.  The current government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan is corrupt on its own and highly dependent on foreign help to maintain its capacity to stay in power.[lxvii] Any business venture with the current regime in Afghanistan could be made useless if the Taliban is restored to power.

For India, such commitments will not only be a major shift in its traditional foreign policy, they could certainly bring memories of other disastrous occupations to the Indian voting populous. India will have to consider past foreign occupations of Afghanistan and the Indian intervention in Sri Lanka in the 1980s. This could lead voters and investors to be doubtful about politicians who support the Chabahar project.

In fact, security concerns negatively affected the implementation another trilateral agreement in the region, the IPI (Iran-Pakistan-India) project. As of 2015, negotiations for the planned trilateral pipeline project are at a standstill. One primary reason is that the pipeline must pass through volatile regions in Afghanistan and Pakistani Baluchistan, where insurgents target energy production and transportation facilities.[lxviii]  In 2007, India backed out of the IPI negotiations after Iran and Pakistan failed to agree to two terms; that Iran assumes responsibility for security of its territorial fuel passage and that India only pay for the fuel after it safely enters its territory.[lxix]

  1. Iran’s Security Concerns

Secondly, Iran also has security concerns that could be exacerbated if the Chabahar deal is completed. The increased importance of Chabahar could embolden Sunni Balochi rebels, who already carried out a successful attack on Chabahar, Iran in July, 2013.[lxx] The port and the transportation routes that come from it can give rebels a place to steal valuable income and a source of future attacks to gain regional and international attention.

Implementing security to the Chabahar route will be required for the project to be viable. Considering that Iran refused to guarantee security to IPI, India could have trouble negotiating a similar guarantee for Chabahar. Iran risks more confrontation with Balochi separatists and insurgents through the increased importance of this region.

The completed Chabahar port could have implications for Iran’s proxy wars with Sunni nations and militias. While Iran’s eastern border is largely peaceful, threats from the west and the Persian Gulf are Iran’s primary concerns for its defense.[lxxi] Iran also supports regional militias like Hezbollah, the Assad faction in Syria, and Shia militias against ISIS in Iraq.[lxxii]  Sunni regional powers and non-state groups like ISIS and Al-Qaeda could target Chabahar to affect Iran’s regional economic assets and regional stability.

In a situation like this, India could also likely be targeted through its assets and citizens in this region. Security and safety of India’s citizens would be nearly impossible to guarantee. The completion of the Chabahar deal would be a bold move that could bring greater risk than prosperity. The reality is that Central and West Asia must become more secure in order for the Chabahar deal to be completed.

  1. How Perceptions of States and Leaders effect the Chabahar Agreement

-India

The change in the Indian perception of the United States significantly affected the trilateral deal in Chabahar.  Prime Minister Singh took the first step in changing Indo-US relations in 2005 with his meeting with US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice. [lxxiii]  India’s perception of the United States changed from antagonistic world power to possible business partner during Singh’s time as Prime Minister.

Chabahar became a matter of business instead of regional cooperation. India established in its political decisions that it would distance itself from the Chabahar deal if a more lucrative deal was possible. However, Chabahar remained a lucrative deal that India could not completely abandon. India still recognized the importance of Chabahar in helping it gain influence, especially in Afghanistan. During the Singh administration, the Zaranj-Delaram highway was completed.[lxxiv]

In January of 2015, the same month that he finalized the Civilian Nuclear Agreement with the United States, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi confirmed India’s commitment to completing Chabahar in a meeting with the chief advisor to Iranian president Hassan Rouhani. [lxxv]  In recent years, India attempted to simultaneously maintain favorable ties with both Iran and the United States.  Under Modi, the pressure to choose Iran or the United States is quickly diminishing and may diminish completely if sanctions on Iran are lifted later this year.

Singh and Modi resisted pressure from Iran and the United States to choose either side. Instead they stalled on deals with both sides, keeping them open until the geopolitical situation allowed India to fully embrace both. In mid-2015, the possible opening up of Iran could allow India to fully invest into Chabahar and Iran’s natural gas without US or international pressure.

  1. The United States

The United States’ growing relationship with India played a major role in the lagging of the Chabahar deal. As mentioned earlier, the halt in progress between Iran and India on the deal happened as India improved relations with the United States in 2005. The perceptions of the United States under both the Bush and Obama Administrations had a significant impact on Indo-Iranian relations.

The United States under President George W. Bush took a tough stance on Iran. Bush described Iran as a threat to global peace in his “Axis of Evil” speech. [lxxvi]  According the Bush’s Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, one goal of Indo-US engagement was to give India a viable energy market the doesn’t rely on “unstable foreign sources of oil and gas, such as Iran”.[lxxvii] The Bush Administration believed that India would abandon Iran if given more lucrative energy deals like the Civilian Nuclear Cooperation Agreement.

It should be noted that sanctions were never enforced on the Chabahar project.[lxxviii] In situations where Afghanistan is involved, the United States seems to be willing to accept constructive influence from Iran. If the collaboration between India and Iran will help stabilize Afghanistan, then it would be in the interests of the United States to encourage it. However, sanctions could be applied to projects in the Chabahar agreements that don’t involve Afghanistan like the Farzad-B and South Pars natural gas field projects.

Although the Obama Administration continued sanctions on Iran, it also orchestrated the ending of the nuclear standoff in 2015.[lxxix] The actions of Obama Administration will allow India the freedom to do business with Iran after the sanctions are lifted.  But with upcoming presidential elections in 2016, the opposition Republican Party that condemned the recent US-Iranian nuclear deal on the grounds of Iran’s anti-Israel policy, could take over and restore a strong anti-Iran policy in the United States. [lxxx]

  1. China

China maintains favorable relations with most nations in Central and West Asia, including Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan. China is certainly interested in investing in the port of Chabahar. During the period that India distanced itself from the Chabahar agreement, China offered continued investments in expanding the port.[lxxxi] China could perceive these Chabahar investments as an extension of its regional economic influence in Iran, where it is already very influential. China is Iran’s largest trading partner, with total trade making an estimated 37 billion US dollars in 2012.[lxxxii]

Despite China’s interests in Chabahar, its commitment to the port in Gwadar is stronger. In April of 2015, the Chinese and Pakistan began a bilateral discussion on a 46 billion US dollar investment for building a highway directly from China’s Xinjiang Province to Gwadar, Pakistan. [lxxxiii] The amount of this investment is significantly higher than its 2013 60 million Euro investment in the Chabahar port.[lxxxiv]  These investments demonstrate that China perceives Gwadar as a more valuable component to its regional influence than Chabahar.

The Case for Chabahar: Why it should be completed and how participating nations can increase development while reducing conflict

 In this article, possible positive and negative effects of the trilateral Chabahar Port agreement were evaluated through analyzing effects of the agreement on regional politics and why the deal is being implemented at a slow pace. This section will begin with an argument for the total completion of the deal. This agreement offers the most viable option India has for peaceful and productive regional engagement, especially considering the risks that come with further regional disengagement.  The agreement also implemented open and productive regional economic cooperation in the face of perpetual disorder.

Then, recommendations will be made for India and Iran what they can do to implement the most benefit from the Chabahar agreement.  They can help commit to this agreement by building regional confidence with greater transparency and reducing polarizing competition. They must also enhance regional development by encouraging stronger infrastructure and more effective local governance in Afghanistan.

  1. The Case for the Chabahar Deal

The Chabahar agreement offered India, Iran and Afghanistan the possibility of an emerging market in an environment of war and poverty. All three sides had the desire and initiative to place a significant amount of time and resources into this deal.  As a result, a positive engagement was facilitated in which all sides of the agreement limited their distrust and insecurities.

For Afghanistan, the Chabahar agreement is a way to open up to the Indian Ocean and South Asia.  Iran relaxed trade regulations for Afghanistan to encourage the use of Chabahar as an alternative to Pakistan. [lxxxv] For many of the landlocked states in Central Asia, Chabahar is a cheaper and safer alternative access point to international waters and the growing markets in South and Southeast Asia.

The World Bank, on its website Worldbank.org, states that “Afghanistan’s biggest economic challenge is finding sustainable sources of growth”.[lxxxvi] Afghanistan is among the least industrialized places in the world, with only thirty percent of the population that can access to electricity.[lxxxvii]  Improvements in infrastructure and quality of life are mainly dependent on foreign aid and donation.[lxxxviii]

Without access to Indian products and aid via Pakistan, Chabahar remains Afghanistan’s only port outside of Pakistan’s heavy taxes and regional blocks. The Chabahar route would not only accelerate aid passage, but also the exchange of Afghan and Indian made goods. The opening of Afghanistan’s emergent energy market to India through Chabahar would be stable source of economic growth.

For Central Asian states, the port of Chabahar is a prime destination for ongoing rail and highway linkages.  The Chabahar port would be the major opening of these new transportations systems to the large and emerging Indian market. Through this linkage, Central Asian states can benefit from direct trade and transfer of goods between Europe and South Asia. Linkages to East and West Asia will also benefit from the southward expansion of Central Asian supply routes.

For India, the risks that completing the Chabahar deal are lesser compared to the risks that come with further disengagement with the region. In Central Asia, Afghanistan and Iran, isolation from a lack of regional cooperation was a major factor in accelerating insurgent violence and economic disorder.  By 1996, the international community disengaged itself from the Afghan Civil War, with only India, Iran and Pakistan funding militias in order to influence regional politics.[lxxxix] The result was the creation of a safe haven and a recruiting ground for militias and terrorist organizations, many of whom attacked India directly.

Through Chabahar, India can yield more positive influence upon the region.  India must engage with this region economically in order to bolster peaceful development and economic growth.  The creation of a new economic outlet is required for the reconstruction and advancement of Afghanistan’s infrastructure.

The SAIL led construction efforts will be most valuable in creating a stable market of products that Afghanistan can export. It will also give much needed development and infrastructure to eastern Afghanistan. The enhancement of Afghanistan’s eastern provinces is important because it will directly affect non-Pashtun minorities and bolster economic growth in a more stable region, which will be beneficial in the possible case that the west of Afghanistan significantly destabilized by insurgents

For Iran, the benefits of Chabahar are clear.  Chabahar is currently Iran’s only deep sea port outside of the Persian Gulf with a direct connection to the Indian Ocean.  The existence of a major port with a transit hub across Iran’s eastern provinces will continue to add to Iran’s importance in regional growth and stability. This will encourage Iran to seek international participation in the use of the Chabahar route.

The need for access to India via Iran’s port in Chabahar could enhance regional cooperation between Iran and Afghanistan.  Relations between the two neighbors are strained by disputes concerning Iran’s treatment of Afghan refugees and drug trafficking across their shared border.[xc] Also, Afghan-Iranian relations suffered after Iran pledged limited support to the Taliban in order to disrupt the US occupation of Afghanistan.[xci]

Despite these setbacks, both nations have demonstrated a high level of cooperation under the direction of India in the Chabahar project.  Iran pledged to build a major bridge across the Helmond River in Afghan territory for the Milak-Zaranj-Delaram route project. [xcii] This bridge links major eastern Afghan cities with the road across Iran’s border to the Chabahar route. As mentioned before, Afghanistan receives major tariff reductions and unrestricted access of its inspectors in the Chabahar port.[xciii] The continuation and success of Chabahar could encourage more cooperation between the two states.

  1. Recommendations

  2. India

For India, becoming more engaged with Afghanistan comes with the same risks that the British, the Soviet Union and the United States faced and suffered greatly from. Losses of Indian lives and investment could result if India becomes more involved in Afghan affairs. However, India’s decades long disengagement with Afghanistan allowed the landlocked nation to become a training ground for Pakistan’s proxy militants and a place for Islamist anti-India sentiments to grow.

The Chabahar agreement offers the most viable solution for India to gain regional influence while ensuring the least amount of losses possible. The Chabahar route is a channel for Indian goods and influence to enter this region through economic means. The alternative is to leave Afghanistan to Pakistan’s hegemony and open the Iranian and Central Asian routes to China’s influence.

In August, 2014, India pledged 100 million US dollars to upgrade the Chabahar port and is looking into further SAIL investments in Afghanistan, with added investments in textiles, fertilizer and chemical industries.[xciv] It is recommended that India accelerate and finish upgrades to Chabahar and the completion of all roads within the next few years. There are two major regional factors that India must consider in order to complete the Chabahar deal: The April 2015 Nuclear deal in Iran and the possible resurgence of the Taliban in Afghanistan.

The recent nuclear deal between UN representative nations and Iran could allow the reopening of the Iranian economy in exchange for a ten year halt in Iran’s enrichment of weapons-grade uranium.[xcv] India must maintain a neutral yet mediatory role between both sides of this conflict if the Chabahar agreement is to remain beneficial. It is within India’s interest to influence both sides to reconcile so that it does not risk disengagement with either side.  India can also encourage more military transparency and confidence building measures, not only between Iran and Afghanistan, but between Iran and the United States.

India must also consider the stability of the current Afghan government as the United States disengages from the region. By continuing to encourage stronger ties between Iran and Afghanistan, India can encourage Iran to become a stabilizing influence. India can do this by encouraging more economic ties between the two nations and encouraging mediation in border disputes. Increased political and economic ties with the current Afghan regime will add to its legitimacy and its ability to protect itself from any Taliban resurgence.

  1. Iran

 Iran placed a significant amount of economic freedoms and reforms to encourage international investment into the port of Chabahar. However, Iran must improve its reputation in the international community if international interests are to have enough confidence to invest into Chabahar. To encourage international cooperation and investment, Iran must continue to be open and willing to negotiate on its nuclear program. Continued secrecy and defiance of the IAEA and UN could lead to more sanctions, which would eventually effect the Chabahar agreement.

Iran also has a reputation of hostility towards foreign investors. In 2004, a Turkish airport services company was ordered to leave Iran by the Revolutionary Guard and was then replaced by a local firm.[xcvi] Reforms that add transparency and accountability to Iran’s economic system can help encourage investment and confidence in the viability of the Chabahar port.  These reforms could also help India overcome stigmas that prevent it from maintaining a strong bilateral understanding with Iran while maintaining close ties to the United States and Europe.

Conclusion

The trilateral deal between India, Iran and Afghanistan for a trade route from India to Afghanistan through Iran became a beacon of hope for the destabilized and underdeveloped region. It was also a sign of hope for India, which lags behind other regional powers in influence and economic growth. This deal was intended to inject a vibrant and sustainable trading system into West, South and Central Asia.

However, both regional and international influences prolonged the process of building a large port in Chabahar with a system of trade routes. This project will create probable shifts in the regional trade system and balance of power.  These possible changes and effects need to be addressed before the deal could be completed. These problems have been addressed slowly but continue to fade away.

In recent months, the geopolitical environment became favorable to the Chabahar agreement.  The United States, under the administration of Barack Obama, brought the United States and India closer together while improving US-Iranian relations. With the gradual drawback of US troops from Afghanistan and the deterioration of stability in the post-Arab Spring Middle East, the United States needs to encourage regional powers like India and Iran to act as stabilizers and sources of productivity.

In 2012, the US government made a public statement that supported a trilateral economic conference between India, Afghanistan and Iran. [xcvii] In the statement, a spokesperson for the US State Department stated that, “These three countries are neighbors. They have to get along. We are obviously interested in increased trade and commerce back and forth there. So anything that ameliorates that situation is something we would support”.[xcviii]

With the April 15, 2015 nuclear deal between the UN and Iran, sanctions that made India pull back its enthusiasm for the deal could be lifted. It should be noted that the deal will not be finalized until July, 2015 and it remains vulnerable to actions by opponents in the United States and Iranian governments until then. However, the current situation seems to favor open trade as a solution to the region’s problems instead of regional antagonism and containment. The current state of international politics offers a window of opportunity for the Chabahar project to be completed.

[i] Ashok K. Behuria, “India and Iran: In Search of a New Rhythm” from India and Iran: An Assessment of Contemporary Relations, ed. Anwar Alam, (New Delhi:  New Century Publications, 2010). Pg.54.

[ii] Ibid. pg.40

[iii] Mohammed A. Mousavi, “Indo-Iran Relations since the New Delhi Declarations” from India and Iran: An Assessment of Contemporary Relations, ed. Anwar Alam, (New Delhi:  New Century Publications, 2010). Pg.33.

[iv] V N Khanna, Foreign Policy of India, 6E, (India, Vikas Publishing House Pvt. Ltd, 2007). Accessed through Google Books, April, 2015, Pg. 249.

[v],Alireza Nader, Ali G. Scotten, Ahmad Idrees Rahmani, Robert Stewart, Leila Mahnad, Iran’s Influence in Afghanistan: Implications for the U.S. Drawdown, The Rand Corporation, 2014, http://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/research_reports/RR600/RR616/RAND_RR616.pdf, pg.11.

[vi] Ibid. pg.12

[vii]Ron van Rooden and Louis Dicks-Mirauex, “Recent Macroeconomic Developments” from Reconstructing Afghanistan, ed. Adam Bennett, (International Monetary Fund, 2005). Pg. 18. Accessed through Google Books, February, 2015. Pg. 18.

[viii] Taleh Ziyadov, Azerbaijan as a Regional Hub in Central Eurasia, (Baku: Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy, 2012). Pg. 87. Accessed from Google Books, February, 2015

[ix] Ron van Rooden and Louis Dicks-Mirauex, “Recent Macroeconomic Developments” from Reconstructing Afghanistan, ed. Adam Bennett, (International Monetary Fund, 2005). Pg. 18. Accessed through Google Books, February, 2015. Pg. 18

[x].Ibid.

[xi] Pascaline Winand, Marika Vicziany, Poonam Datar, The European Union and India: Rhetoric or Meaningful Partnership?, (Edgar Elgar Publishing, 2015), Accessed through Google Books, February, 2015. pg. 292.

[xii] “India has pledged $100 Million for the Chabahar Port: Afghan Envoy” Economic Times, August 31, 2014, Accessed March, 2015.

[xiii] AK Pasha, “Key Note Address”, from India and Iran in Contemporary Relations, ed. R. Sidda Goud and Manisha Mookherjee, (Allied Publishers, 2014), pg. 10.

[xiv] Ibid. pg.11

[xv] Ziyadov, Azerbaijan as a Regional Hub in Central Eurasia, (Baku: Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy, 2012). Pg. 87, Accessed from Google Books, February, 2015.

[xvi] Vidya Shankar Aiyar, “Prime Time Deal” from Indo-US Nuclear Deal: Seeking Synergy in Bilateralism, ed. P.R Chari, (New Delhi: Routledge: 2009). Pg. 34.

[xvii] P.R. Chari, “Introduction: The Indo-US Nuclear Deal: from Indo-US Nuclear Deal: Seeking Synergy in Bilateralism, ed. P.R Chari, (New Delhi: Routledge, 2009). Pg. 2.

[xviii] Sachin Parashar, “Namobama Fusion Delivers N-Deal” The Times of India, (Chennai), January, 26, 2015.

[xix] P.R. Chari, “Introduction: The Indo-US Nuclear Deal: from Indo-US Nuclear Deal: Seeking Synergy in Bilateralism, ed. P.R Chari, (New Delhi: Routledge, 2009). Pg. 5.

[xx] Mohammed A. Mousavi, “Indo-Iran Relations since the New Delhi Declarations” from India and Iran: An Assessment of Contemporary Relations, ed. Anwar Alam, (New Delhi:  New Century Publications, 2010). Pgs. 42-43.

[xxi] Ibid. pg. 43.

[xxii] Ibid.

[xxiii] Jajati K. Pattnaik, “India-Iran Bilateral Relations in the Contemporary Period”, from India and Iran: An Assessment of Contemporary Relations, ed. Anwar Alam, (New Delhi:  New Century Publications, 2010). Pg. 119.

[xxiv] Ashok K. Behuria, “India and Iran: In Search of a New Rhythm” from India and Iran: An Assessment of Contemporary Relations, ed. Anwar Alam, (New Delhi:  New Century Publications), 2010. Pg. 57.

[xxv] Mohammed A. Mousavi, “Indo-Iran Relations since the New Delhi Declarations” from India and Iran: An Assessment of Contemporary Relations, ed. Anwar Alam, (New Delhi:  New Century Publications, 2010). Pgs. 38-39.

[xxvi] AK Pasha, “Key Note Address”, from India and Iran in Contemporary Relations, ed. by R. Sidda Goud and Manisha Mookherjee, (Allied Publishers, 2014), pg. 10. Accessed from Google Books, February, 2015.

[xxvii] Aryaman Bhatnagar and Divya John, “Accessing Afghanistan and Central Asia: Importance of Chabahar to India”, Observer Research Foundation: Special Report, issue 14, October 2014, accessed April, 2015, http://orfonline.org/cms/export/orfonline/modules/issuebrief/attachments/specialreport4_1383913002765.pdf, pgs. 2, 6.

[xxviii] Ashok Behuria, “India should not lose interest in Chabahar”, The Daily Pioneer, May, 31, 2014, Accessed March, 2015. http://www.dailypioneer.com/columnists/oped/india-should-not-lose-interest-in-chabahar.html.

[xxix],Alireza Nader, Ali G. Scotten, Ahmad Idrees Rahmani, Robert Stewart, Leila Mahnad, Iran’s Influence in Afghanistan: Implications for the U.S. Drawdown, The Rand Corporation, 2014, http://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/research_reports/RR600/RR616/RAND_RR616.pdf, pg.11.

[xxx] AK Pasha, “Key Note Address”, from India and Iran in Contemporary Relations, ed. R. Sidda Goud and Manisha Mookherjee,( Allied Publishers, 2014), pgs. 10-11. Accessed from Google Books, February, 2015.

[xxxi] Ibid.

[xxxii] Press Trust of India, “Iran puts ONGC discovered gas field on auction list”, Business Standard, September 24, 2014, http://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/iran-puts-ongc-discovered-gas-field-on-auction-list-114092400631_1.html.

[xxxiii] AK Pasha, “Key Note Address”, from India and Iran in Contemporary Relations, ed. R. Sidda Goud and Manisha Mookherjee,( Allied Publishers, 2014), pg. 11. Accessed from Google Books, February, 2015.

[xxxiv] Taleh Ziyadov, Azerbaijan as a Regional Hub in Central Eurasia, (Baku: Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy, 2012). Pg  87. Accessed from Google Books, February, 2015.

[xxxv] Ibid.

[xxxvi] Mohammed A. Mousavi, “Indo-Iran Relations since the New Delhi Declarations” from India and Iran: An Assessment of Contemporary Relations, ed. Anwar Alam, (New Delhi:  New Century Publications, 2010). Pg. 39.

[xxxvii] Pascaline Winand, Marika Vicziany, Poonam Datar, The European Union and India: Rhetoric or Meaningful Partnership?, (Edgar Elgar Publishing, 2015), Pg. 291, Accessed through Google Books, February, 2015..

[xxxviii] Utpal Bhaskar and K.P Narayana Kumar, “Iran may replace Hinduja-led consortium with Chinese firm”, Live Mint, last modified November 06, 2008, http://www.livemint.com/Companies/9hCmckbcxaNN6J9NRzJUFO/Iran-may-replace-Hindujaled-consortium-with-Chinese-firm.html.

[xxxix] Ibid.

[xl] Louise Merrington, “India and China: Strategic Engagements in Central Asia”, from The Engagement of India: Strategies and Responses, ed. Ian Hall, (Washington D.C: Georgetown University Press, , 2014). Pgs. 94-95. Accessed from Google Books, March, 2015.

[xli] Rajeev Agarwal, “Post Afghanistan 2014: Options for India and Iran”, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies, Issue Brief # 247, (March 2014), Accessed March, 2015, http://www.ipcs.org/pdf_file/issue/IB247-ColAgarwal-Afg.pdf.  Pg. 5.

[xlii] Ashok Behuria, “India should not lose interest in Chabahar”, The Daily Pioneer, May, 31, 2014, Accessed March, 2015. http://www.dailypioneer.com/columnists/oped/india-should-not-lose-interest-in-chabahar.html.

[xliii] Ibid.

[xliv] Ziyadov Taleh Ziyadov, Azerbaijan as a Regional Hub in Central Eurasia, (Baku: Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy, 2012). Pgs. 87-88.

[xlv] Aryaman Bhatnagar and Divya John, “Accessing Afghanistan and Central Asia: Importance of Chabahar to India”, Observer Research Foundation: Special Report, issue 14, (October 2014), accessed April, 2015, http://orfonline.org/cms/export/orfonline/modules/issuebrief/attachments/specialreport4_1383913002765.pdf, Pg. 7.

[xlvi] Kingshuk Chatterjee, “Stabilizer in an Unstable Neighborhood? The ‘Tehran’ Factor in Middle Eastern Politics”, from Security Imperatives In a Changing Global Order: Recent Developments in Middle East and West Asia, ed. RS Vasan and Raakhee Suryaprakash, (Chennai: Center For Asia Studies, 2014). Pg. 99.

[xlvii] Rajeshwari Krishnamurthy, “Iran: Geostrategic Calculations vis-à-vis Afghanistan”, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies, #4327, 7, (March, 2014),Accessed March, 2015, http://www.ipcs.org/article/iran/iran-geostrategic-calculations-vis-vis-afghanistan-4327.html

[xlviii] David Temple, “Politics and Lobbyists: The Internal Political Dynamics Influencing US Congressional Approval of the Nuclear Deal” from Indo-US Nuclear Deal: Seeking Synergy in Bilateralism, ed. P.R Chari, (New Delhi: Routledge, 2009). Pgs. 51-52.

[xlix] Mohammed A. Mousavi, “Indo-Iran Relations since the New Delhi Declarations” from India and Iran: An Assessment of Contemporary Relations, ed. Anwar Alam, (New Delhi:  New Century Publications, 2010). Pg. 43.

[l] Ibid. Pg.42.

[li] Winand, Marika Vicziany, Poonam Datar, The European Union and India: Rhetoric or Meaningful Partnership?, (Edgar Elgar Publishing, 2015), Accessed through Google Books, February, 2015. Pgs. 290-291.

[lii] Ibid. Pg. 291.

[liii]. Mohammed A. Mousavi, “Indo-Iran Relations since the New Delhi Declarations” from India and Iran: An Assessment of Contemporary Relations, ed. Anwar Alam, (New Delhi:  New Century Publications, 2010). Pgs. 42-43.

[liv] Ashok K. Behuria, “India and Iran: In Search of a New Rhythm” from India and Iran: An Assessment of Contemporary Relations, ed. Anwar Alam, (New Delhi:  New Century Publications, 2010). Pg. 57.

[lv] Avi Jorisch, “Port Of Damaged Goods: India’s Dangerous Investment In Iran’s Chabahar”, Forbes, September 16, 2013, http://www.forbes.com/sites/realspin/2013/09/16/port-of-damaged-goods-indias-dangerous-investment-in-irans-chahabar/, Accessed March, 2015.

[lvi] P.R. Chari, “Introduction: The Indo-US Nuclear Deal” from Indo-US Nuclear Deal: Seeking Synergy in Bilateralism, ed. P.R Chari, (New Delhi: Routledge, 2009). Pg. 7.

[lvii] David Ljunggren, “Canada, India Unveil Uranium Supply Deal, Bury Nuclear Discord” Reuters, April 15, 2015, http://in.reuters.com/article/2015/04/15/india-canada-modi-idINKBN0N61BN20150415.

[lviii] AK Pasha, “Key Note Address”, from India and Iran in Contemporary Relations, ed. R. Sidda Goud and Manisha Mookherjee, (Allied Publishers, 2014). Pg. 11. Accessed from Google Books, April, 2015.

[lix] “Obama backs India on permanent UN Security Council seat”, BBC News, November 8, 2010, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-south-asia-11711007, accessed April, 2015.

[lx] Geoffrey Kemp, The East Moves West: India, China and Asia’s Growing Presence in the Middle East, (Washington D.C: Brookings Institution Press 2010), Pg. 167, Accessed from Google Books, February, 2015..

[lxi] Winand, Marika Vicziany, Poonam Datar, The European Union and India: Rhetoric or Meaningful Partnership?, (Edgar Elgar Publishing, 2015), Pgs.293.294, Accessed through Google Books, February, 2015..

[lxii] Ibid. Pgs. 292-293.

[lxiii] Alireza Nader, Ali G. Scotten, Ahmad Idrees Rahmani, Robert Stewart, Leila Mahnad, Iran’s Influence in Afghanistan: Implications for the U.S. Drawdown, The Rand Corporation, 2014, http://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/research_reports/RR600/RR616/RAND_RR616.pdf, pg.11.

[lxiv] Rajeev Agarwal, “Post Afghanistan 2014: Options for India and Iran”, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies, Issue Brief # 247, March 2014, Accessed March, 2015, http://www.ipcs.org/pdf_file/issue/IB247-ColAgarwal-Afg.pdf.  Pg. 5.

65 Orla Gueriin, “Leaks paint a picture of unreliable and unstable Pakistan” BBC News, BBC, December 1, 2010, Accessed April, 2015, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-11889162?print=true.

66 Louise Merrington, “India and China: Strategic Engagements in Central Asia”, from The Engagement of India: Strategies and Responses, ed. Ian Hall, (Washington D.C Georgetown University Press, 2014). Pgs. 94-95. Accessed from Google Books, March, 2015.

67Ashley Jackson, The Cost of War: Afghan Experiences of Conflict, 1978-2009, Oxfam International, 2009. Pgs. 15, 28.

68 Ashok K. Behuria, “India and Iran: In Search of a New Rhythm” from India and Iran: An Assessment of Contemporary Relations, ed. Anwar Alam, (New Delhi:  New Century Publications, 2010). Pgs.57-58.

69 Ibid. pg. 58.

70Aryaman Bhatnagar and Divya John, “Accessing Afghanistan and Central Asia: The Importance of Chabahar to India”, Observer Research Foundation Special Report, Observer Research Foundation, issue #4, (October, 2013). Pg. 12. http://orfonline.org/cms/export/orfonline/modules/issuebrief/attachments/specialreport4_1383913002765.pdf.

71 Kingshuk Chatterjee, “Stabilizer in an Unstable Neighborhood? The ‘Tehran’ Factor in Middle Eastern Politics”, from Security Imperatives In a Changing Global Order: Recent Developments in Middle East and West Asia, edited by RS Vasan and Raakhee Suryaprakash,(Chennai: Center For Asia Studies, 2014). Pg. 99.

72 Jake Miller, “David Pertraeus: Biggest threat to Iraq’s future is Iran, not ISIS” CBS News, CBS, March 20, 2015, Accessed April, 2015, http://www.cbsnews.com/news/david-petraeus-biggest-threat-to-iraqs-future-is-iran-not-isis/.

73 Vidya Shankar Aiyar, “Prime Time Deal” from Indo-US Nuclear Deal: Seeking Synergy in Bilateralism, ed. P.R Chari, (New Delhi: Routledge, 2009). Pg. 34.

74  Aryaman Bhatnagar and Divya John, “Accessing Afghanistan and Central Asia: Importance of Chabahar to India”, Observer Research Foundation: Special Report, issue 14, (October 2014), accessed April, 2015, http://orfonline.org/cms/export/orfonline/modules/issuebrief/attachments/specialreport4_1383913002765.pdf, pgs. 2, 6.

75 Elizabeth Roche, “India Keen to Develop Chabahar Port, Narendra Modi tells Iran”,  Live Mint, January 11, 2015, http://www.livemint.com/Politics/X4TQaKf1Ite68OdX8lmpNJ/India-keen-to-develop-Chabahar-port-Narendra-Modi-tells-Ira.html.

76 Kingshuk Chatterjee, “Stabilizer in an Unstable Neighborhood? The ‘Tehran’ Factor in Middle Eastern Politics”, from Security Imperatives In a Changing Global Order: Recent Developments in Middle East and West Asia, edited by RS Vasan and Raakhee Suryaprakash, (Chennai: Center For Asia Studies 2014). Pg. 100.

77  Mohammed A. Mousavi, “Indo-Iran Relations since the New Delhi Declarations” from India and Iran: An Assessment of Contemporary Relations, ed. Anwar Alam, (New Delhi:  New Century Publications, 2010). Pg. 42.

78 Elizabeth Roche, “India Keen to Develop Chabahar Port, Narendra Modi tells Iran”,  Live Mint, January 11, 2015, http://www.livemint.com/Politics/X4TQaKf1Ite68OdX8lmpNJ/India-keen-to-develop-Chabahar-port-Narendra-Modi-tells-Ira.html.

79 “Iran Nuclear Crisis: Six Key Points” BBC News, April 3. 2015, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-32114862.

80 Tara McKelvey, “Iran Nuclear Deal: Can the US Congress Sabotage It?” BBC News, April 3, 2015, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-32125391.

81 Ashok Behuria, “India should not lose interest in Chabahar”, The Daily Pioneer, May, 31, 2014, Accessed March, 2015. http://www.dailypioneer.com/columnists/oped/india-should-not-lose-interest-in-chabahar.html.

82 Aryaman Bhatnagar and Divya John, “Accessing Afghanistan and Central Asia: The Importance of Chabahar to India”, Observer Research Foundation Special Report, Observer Research Foundation, issue #4, (October, 2013). Pg. 11. http://orfonline.org/cms/export/orfonline/modules/issuebrief/attachments/specialreport4_1383913002765.pdf.

83 M llyas Kahn, “China’s Xi Jinping to unveil $46bn Super Highway to Pakistan” BBC News, April 20, 2015. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-32377088.

84 Aryaman Bhatnagar and Divya John, “Accessing Afghanistan and Central Asia: The Importance of Chabahar to India”, Observer Research Foundation Special Report, Observer Research Foundation, issue #4, (October, 2013). Pg. 9. http://orfonline.org/cms/export/orfonline/modules/issuebrief/attachments/specialreport4_1383913002765.pdf.

85 Aryaman Bhatnagar, “Indo-Iranian Cooperation in Afghanistan Faces Challenges” The Atlantic Sentinel, May 7, 2013, Accessed March, 2015.

86 Rajeev Agarwal, “Post Afghanistan 2014: Options for India and Iran”, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies, Issue Brief # 247,( March 2014), Accessed March, 2015, http://www.ipcs.org/pdf_file/issue/IB247-ColAgarwal-Afg.pdf.  Pg. 2.

87 “Afghanistan Home: World Bank Country Profiles” World Bank.org, The World Bank, 2015, Accessed April, 2015, http://www.worldbank.org/en/country/afghanistan.

88 “The IMF Program Note on the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan” IMF.org, The International Monetary Fund, April 8, 2014, Accessed April, 2015, https://www.imf.org/external/np/country/notes/afghanistan.htm.

89  Ashley Jackson, The Cost of War: Afghan Experiences of Conflict, 1978-2009, Oxfam International, 2009. Pg. 12.

90  Rajeev Agarwal, “Post Afghanistan 2014: Options for India and Iran”, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies, Issue Brief # 247, (March 2014), Accessed March, 2015, http://www.ipcs.org/pdf_file/issue/IB247-ColAgarwal-Afg.pdf.  Pg. 4.

91 Rajeshwari Krishnamurthy, “Iran: Geostrategic Calculations vis-à-vis Afghanistan”, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies, #4327, 7,(March, 2014), Accessed March, 2015, http://www.ipcs.org/article/iran/iran-geostrategic-calculations-vis-vis-afghanistan-4327.html.

92 Ron van Rooden and Louis Dicks-Mirauex, “Recent Macroeconomic Developments” from Reconstructing Afghanistan, ed. Adam Bennett, (International Monetary Fund, 2005). Pg. 18. Accessed through Google Books, February, 2015. Pg. 18.

93 Ibid.

94 “India has pledged $100 Million for the Chabahar Port: Afghan Envoy” Economic Times, August 31, 2014, Accessed March, 2015. http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2014-08-31/news/53413203_1_chabahar-port-afghan-envoy-india-shaida-mohammad-abdali.

95Amir Paivar, “Iran nuclear deal has hungry investors circling”, BBC News, BBC, April 6, 2015, Accessed April, 2015. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-32193942.

96 Ibid.

97  Aryaman Bhatnagar and Divya John, “Accessing Afghanistan and Central Asia: Importance of Chabahar to India”, Observer Research Foundation: Special Report, issue 14, October 2014, accessed April, 2015, Pgs. 11-12, http://orfonline.org/cms/export/orfonline/modules/issuebrief/attachments/specialreport4_1383913002765.pdf.

98 Ibid.

(Brian Storch is a graduate student who is currently working for a master’s degree in International Comparative Politics at Wright State University in Dayton, United States of America. For the Spring 2015 semester, he attended the Political Science postgraduate program at Madras Christian College in Chennai, India. While he was there, he prepared this report for the Center for Asia Studies from February to April, 2015.)