Geostrategic Importance of Gwadar and Chabahar: A Comparative Study
Keywords: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 provinces–ethno-nationalist insurgency in Balochistan and sectarian insurgency in Sistan-Baluchestan–it 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.
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