How Trump’s Iran policy made space for China, rocked India’s Chabahar plans (

A file photo of Donald Trump. Source: Flickr

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New Delhi: The proposed China-Iran strategic partnership likely means that India’s plan to build Iran’s Chabahar port has been rocked, further side-lining New Delhi from the region’s geopolitics, said ThePrint’s Editor-in-Chief Shekhar Gupta in episode 524 of Cut The Clutter.

The emerging Iran-China strategic partnership is all the more significant because it comes at a time when “Iranians have announced that they might be giving the construction of Chabahar-Zahedan railway line to China,” said Gupta.

Also read: The China-Iran strategic partnership, and how it can change geopolitics in the Middle East

Details of the deal

The Chabahar-Zahedan railway line is a 500 kilometer line that goes up to the Afghanistan border and would have allowed India to send goods, bypassing Pakistan. Additionally, it is right next to Gwadar port, which was built by the Chinese.

The New York Times, which accessed the proposed 18-page China-Iran strategic partnership, reported that the deal talks about expanding Chinese presence in Iran’s “banking, telecommunications, ports, railways and dozens of other projects”. China will be investing nearly $400 billion in Iran over the next 25 years. In return, Iran is to provide regular and “heavily discounted” supply of oil to China for the same time period.

There are more than 100 projects listed in the draft that will see Chinese investments; these include building some Free Trade Zones and some very significant ports. The Chinese will also help Iran build infrastructure for 5G networks and come up with an internet filter like the Great Firewall in China.

Meanwhile, the strategic side of the deal involves “deepening military cooperation, with joint training and exercises, joint research and weapons development, and intelligence sharing”. This is intended to fight the “the lopsided battle with terrorism, drug and human trafficking and cross-border crimes”.

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