Geopolitics, Geo-economics and the Prospect of Iran-India Cooperation in Chabahar

Document Type : Original Article


1 Associate Professor, Political Science and International Relations, Shahid Beheshti University,Tehran, Iran

2 M.A. in International Relations, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran,Iran


Extended Abstract
Chabahar as a deep-sea port is located near the Oman Sea. Chabahar’s location is very important for many countries such as India. India and Iran in 2003 singed the “New Delhi Declaration”. The declaration was about a lot of issues like investment, South-North Corridor and trade. One of the most important issues in this declaration was India and Iran’s plan for developing the Chabahar port. But after two decades, the Chabahar agreement in 2016 was signed and ratified, though after two years the progress has been very slow. In short, despite Iran and India's willingness to develop the Chabahar port, their cooperation in this port has had its ups and downs and has not yet reached a definite end. With this introduction, the question is that, given the delay in the development of Chabahar port, what are the obstacles to cooperation between the two countries, and what are the goals of Iran and India for the development of the Chabahar port and whether the goals of the two countries are overlapped. So, the main question of the paper is that what are the main reasons for delaying India's investment project in Chabahar (from 2003 to 2019) and what is the prospect of cooperation between the two countries in Chabahar port?
By applying a conceptual as well as theoretical framework using the geopolitics and geo-economics literature, the research is mainly based on a descriptive-analytic method. The data gathering procedure is based on library findings and interviews.
Results and Discussion
From the geo-economic aspect, Iran and India have common goals. Both countries want to use Chabahar port as a commercial and transit hub. India seeks to facilitate its access to central Asia and Afghanistan’s markets and resources, and Iran has been trying to attract FDI and access to more markets. On the other hand, conflicting geopolitical goals seems to be a main hindrance for India and Iran’s cooperation in Chabahar port. Iran is trying to use the port as a tool to confront the US in the region. India as other partner wants to use the port against China and Pakistan. Iran does not want to strain its relation with China and Pakistan, and India has good relation with the US and two countries in some areas have strategic cooperation. From Iran’s aspect, it does not want to use its port against its real friends. For Iran, China and Pakistan are good friends in the South and East Asia and thus wants to develop its relationship with them. In this regard, we cannot see a tangible accomplishment in the near future for both countries in Chabahar port.
If India and Iran don’t change their view of Chabahar from a geopolitical to a geo-economical port, we possibly will not see any progress in their cooperation in Chabahar port in near future. They should use Chabahar as an economic tool to increase economic interactions in Central, South and West Asia. Iran needs to invite other states like South Korea and Japan to invest in the port. And at the end, Iran should increase economic choices for countries that participate in the port like India and Afghanistan


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Volume 17, Issue 63
July 2021
Pages 61-87
  • Receive Date: 30 November 2019
  • Revise Date: 16 April 2020
  • Accept Date: 23 April 2020
  • First Publish Date: 23 September 2021