Obama must support Modi on the Chabahar deal with Iran
New Delhi, June 7: Inking the Chabahar port deal with Iran is extremely beneficial for India. The terms state that India will provide $500 million to develop a port in the southern Iranian city of Chabahar. A pledge to invest 16 billion dollars in a free trade zone around the city has also been made.
Michael Kugelman, Senior Associate for South and Southeast Asia
Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Washington DC says that the Chabahar deals geopolitical ramifications are enormous. He further says that US president, Barack Obama should announce his unequivocal support to the deal.
Kugelman says that Obama should express his unequivocal support for the deal-and propose ways to help achieve its potential. The Chabahar deal could benefit two of Washington's key South Asian friends in a big way.
First, it gives India the opportunity to tap into the vast natural gas riches of Central Asia. Additionally, with a stronger foothold in Iran, New Delhi will be better positioned to tap into Iran's own gas reserves.
In an article written foreignaffairs.com, Kugelman explains that the deal could bring Afghanistan badly needed new sources of revenue. The Afghan economy, which relies heavily on foreign assistance, is gasping for air.
The foreign troop drawdown has reduced Afghanistan's once-strong war economy, and international donors are starting to back away.
Finally, the Chabahar deal could help all four countries by building the trust necessary to generate more meaningful trilateral cooperation on challenges like ISIS and the Afghanistan drug trade-issues of great concern to all involved.
Kugelman further points out that US support for the deal would also send a conciliatory message to Tehran. Siding with Iran in ways that extend beyond nuclear cooperation would generate some much-needed goodwill-and give Tehran something to chew on as it contemplates its future relationship with the Taliban.