Chabahar initiative not to bypass Pakistan: Iranian expert

Islamabad, Dec 21, IRNA - Senior Iranian analyst says Chabahar initiative is not to bypass Pakistan but to enhance connectivity between Indian Ocean, Pakistan and other countries of the region.

Dr. Hadi Soleimanpour, Head of the Centre for International Research and Education (CIRE), Tehran speaking at a conference titled ‘Pakistan-China-Iran: A trident of regional connectivity’ at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) said development of Chabahar is not for Afghanistan, it is not to bypass Pakistan but only to reduce pressure on other ports of Iran.

He said that Chabahar connects the southern part of Iran with the northern part of Iran. “These days two important ports of Iran; Bandar Abbas and Imam Khomeini Ports, are under significant pressure so there is no alternative left for Iran to develop another port,” the analyst said.

He said that Iran and Pakistan need to speed up their cooperation with each other to address the energy issues bilaterally and then with China which is an important aspect of the CPEC. “Energy is an important feature of CPEC,” he noted.

Soleimanpour added that railway line which connects Chabahar with Iranshahr is being built by Iran with its own resources and not by any other country. “If we are able to connect Chabahar with the central part of Iran then the time for the transportation of cargo from Azerbaijan, Russia, Turkey to Europe will be reduced,” he said.

The Iranian expert said that China is a major trade partner of Iran and also a major trade partner of Pakistan, 'but we need to have more integrated economic ties'. He said that each and every economic plan by any of the three countries must have an economic justification.

“If you implement the CPEC or North South Economic Corridor because of security or economic concerns it will not work on geo economy,” the Iranian expert said.

He added that the CPEC and North South Economic Corridor have different mandate and agenda, but they can complete each other.

The Iranian expert said that Iran is progressing a lot in the field of nano-technology, bio-technology and energy so it can help both Pakistan and China. “We can work with China through production chain,” he said.

Expressing his views, Soleimanpour said Iran and Pakistan are also cooperating with each other under the ECO and China can also benefit from that. He added that D-8 is also another economic forum with which China can cooperate.

He was of the view that we have to also engage Afghanistan in economic corridor for the stability of region. “It is a crucial moment for Iran, Pakistan and China that they should introduce new narrative in Afghanistan based on peace and economic development of the country,” Soleimanpour said.

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