Geostrategic Importance of Gwadar and Chabahar: A Comparative Study


  • Mansoor Ahmed Faculty Member of IR Department, University of Balochistan Quetta & PhD Scholar at Quaid-i-Azam University Islamabad
  • Dr. Manzoor Ahmed Baloch 2 Faculty Member of Brahui Department, University of Balochistan Quetta
  • Khudadad M.Phil Scholar at Balochistan Study Center, University of Balochistan Quetta


CPEC, North-South Transport Corridor, Geostrategic Importance, Insurgency, Sino-Indian Rivalry, Central Asian Gateway, India-Iran-Russia Strategic Triangle


The neighboring Gwadar and Chabahar warm-water ports are located on the Makoran Coast of Pakistani Province of Balochistan and Iranian Province of Sistan-Baluchestan respectively. Owing to their strategic location at the mouth of the Strait of Hormuz where an estimated 17-18 million barrels of crude oil passes daily, their commercially vital sea ports and the presence of India and China (two strategic-cum-economic regional competitors), it is extremely vital to undertake a scientific but comparative study the two strategic port cities of the Indian Ocean. At the mouth of the mouth of the Strait of Hormuz, Persian Gulf meets the Arabian Sea of the


Indian Ocean. Since low-level insurgencies active in both provincesethno-nationalist insurgency in Balochistan and sectarian insurgency in Sistan-Baluchestanit is therefore more pertinent to undertake an academic discourse to identify the strategic pros a and cons of this substantial region for the policy makers. The presence of the world‟s fastest growing economies along with largest armies amid historic enmities has made this small strip of coastline as the jewel of the Indian Ocean‟s crown. China has world‟s largest armed forces followed by the USA and India. The existence of the US Fifth Fleet in the offshore waters of Bahrain in the Persian Gulf add more importance to this region where both Gwadar and Chabahar envisage to be the future gateways of the oil-rich but landlocked region of Central Asia besides the convergence and divergence of the national interests of many great powers. The geostrategic importance of the two neighboring port cities is constantly sending strategic waves across the regional waters and beyond. This important region straddled across Pakistan and Iran‟s frontier (Balochistan and Sistan-Baluchestan) bridges three sub-regions of Asia: South Asia, Central Asia and Southwest Asia. The implication of the geopolitical proximity of these neighboring sea ports is part of the academic as well as policy-making discourses of the major capitals around the world. The shifting dynamics of regional and extra-regional politics and enhanced sea trade have maximized the unique geopolitical and geostrategic significance of Iran‟s Chabahar Port and Pakistan‟s Gwadar Port.


Ahmad, Azhar. (2015) Gwadar: Potential and Prospects, Institute for Conflict and Security Studies Islamabad.

Ahmed, Ayaz. (2015, October 11) Gwadar vs Chabahar, The News.

Ajaz, Aymen. (2015, August 20). Significance of Gwadar

Port, IPRI, August 20, 2015.

Aziz Faiz, Hamal Kalmati: a symbol of arousal, Bolan

Voice, June 2013 Edition.

Badalkhan, Sabir. (2009, September). Portuguese encounters with Makoran Baloch during the sixteen century, Vol.19, Issue 02, Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, London: Cambridge University Press, September 2009, p.48.

Berlin, Donald L. (2004, October). India Iran Relations; A deepening Entente, Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies

Special Assessment. dia-IranRelationsBerlin.pdf

Bokhari, Sitwat Waqar. (2015, July 25). Iran‘s Chabahar

Port and the Strategic Turf War, ViewsWeek.

Chinese plans in Seychelles revive Indian fears of encirclement. (2012, March 22). The Guardian.

Decline in Afghan transit trade. (2013, April 29), Dawn.

Ebrahim, Zofeen T. (2015, April 20). China‘s new Silk road: What‘s in it for Pakistan, Dawn.

Fair, Christina. (2007, March 16). Indo-Iranian Ties: Thicker than Oil. Nonproliferation Policy Education Center,

Fatima, Qamar, Asma Jamshed. (2015, July-December) The Political and Economic Significance of Indian Ocean: An Analysis, South Asian Studies, Vol. 30, No.2, p. 73. atima_30_2.pdf

Fazal-e-Haider, Sayed. (2007, January 15) Gwadar and Oil Politics, Dawn.

Haidari, M. Ashraf. (2015, Sept. 16) India and Afghanistan:

A Growing Partnership, The Diplomat.

How Iran‘s nuclear deal affects India. (2015, July 16) BBC.

Heydarian, Richard Javad. (2014, March 11). South China Sea Dispute: The gloves are off, Aljazeera.

India wants to deny Pakistan strategic depth in Afghanistan: US report. (2015, Nov. 04). Dawn.

India to sign port deal with Iran, Ignoring US warning

against haste. (2015, May 5). Reuters.

India-Iran-Afghanistan transit corridor talks in progress: V K Singh. (2016, March 02) The Economic Times.

Kennedy, Scott, & David A. Parker. (2015, April 03).

Building China‘s ―One Belt, One Road, Center for Strategic & International Studies,

Geostrategic Importance of Gwadar and Chabahar: A Comparative Study

Khan, M. Ilyas. (2015, May 06) What lies behind Pakistan

charges of India Terrorism, BBC.

Kugelman, Michael. (2015, May 08). Examining the implications of the Indo-Iranian Chabahar port deal, Deutsche Welle (DW)

Mohan, C. Raja. (2003, January 31).Tending to the

Neighborhood, The Hindu. India Pushing Hard for Chabahar Port in Iran. Editorial. (2015, May 07). Indian Express.

Modi govt. keeps Pakistan out of regional plans, sign pacts with other countries. (2015, June 23). Hindustantimes,

Naji, Kasra. (2016, January 18). Iran nuclear deal: Five effects of lifting sanctions, BBC.

Osmani, Ruhollah. (2016, Feb 5). Chabahar Port: A win for

South Asia, Foreign Policy,

Pak-Afghan Trade: Discussion Paper, (2011, December)

PILDAT, December 2011.

Perkovich, George. (2003-04 winter)Is India a Major Power, The Washington Quarterly, Vol. 27, No, p. 129

Ramachandran, Sudha. (2005, January 12). The Glue that

Bonds India Iran, The Asian Times.

Ramachandran, Sudha. (2016, March 30). Iran, China and

the Silk Road Train, The Diplomat, Dennis, & Sanjay Chaturvedi. (EDs.). (2015), Energy Security and the Indian Ocean Region, New York: Routledge Taylor & Francis Group, pp. 63-65

Shah, Sayed Mudassir Ali. (2015, May 10) Chabahar vs Gwadar, Dawn.

Sreenivasan, T.P. (2007, February 12). Pranab‘s Iran visit a

signal to the US, Rediff India Abroad.

Tan, Huileng. (2016, Jan. 25) China tilts to Iran as Xi caps

visit with 17 accords, CNN.

World Oil Transit Chokepoints (2014, Nov. 10), US Energy Information Administration. ns-topics.cfm?RegionTopicID=WOTC

Geostrategic Importance of Gwadar and Chabahar: A Comparative Study




How to Cite

Ahmed, M. ., Baloch, . D. M. A. ., & Khudadad. (2016). Geostrategic Importance of Gwadar and Chabahar: A Comparative Study. Hanken, 8(1), 59–82. Retrieved from