Saudi Arabia may undermine potential of Iran's Chabahar seaport
Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 1
By Ali Mustafayev – Trend:
Saudi Arabia is interested in supporting the trade routes that are alternative to Iran’s newly inaugurated Chabahar port for several reasons, including division of economic authority in the region as well as its political confrontation with the Islamic Republic, James M. Dorsey, a political analyst, senior fellow at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University, told Trend.
“For this reason, Saudi Arabia won’t have any association with Chabahar. In fact, the Saudis have already expressed interest in investing in the Chinese-backed Pakistani deep-sea port of Gwadar, which could further increase transportation of goods from to Pakistan through the Saudi ports to other Middle East countries,” said Dorsey.
He added that despite all the benefits that this cooperation would bring, especially considering Pakistani-Indian conflict (India will presumably be one of the main goods transporters through Chabahar), Pakistan will also use Chabahar to reach the Central Asian countries and further, regardless of conditions that Iran offers.
Iran’s newly inaugurated Chabahar port is expected to expand the Islamic Republic’s significance for the Central Asia region, serving as a corridor for transporting goods from/to Afghanistan, India, as well as link other important trade routes, enhancing Iran’s role as a transit hub for Central Asia, particularly for receiving goods coming from India.
“What Chabahar does is it offers India access to Central Asia that circumvents Afghanistan and positions it as a competitor to China’s 'Belt and Road' initiative. In this case the port will provide the benefits that Saudi Arabia is unable to provide. However, some competitiveness between Iranian Chabahar and Saudi-Pakistani ports should be expected," said Dorsey.