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China-Iran Strategic Cooperation Pact

China-Iran Strategic Cooperation Pact

Why in news?

  • China and Iran recently signed what was described as a 25-year “strategic cooperation pact”, during Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s on-going six-nation tour to West Asia.
  • The deal, which has been in the works for five years, was signed between Mr. Wang and his Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif
  • The agreement comes amid a major push from China to back Iran to deal with the continuing weight of sanctions reinstated by the US after its withdrawal from the Iranian nuclear deal.

Significance of the pact

  • It will deepen relations between Iran and China
  • It would establish a blueprint for reciprocal investments in the fields of transport, ports, energy, industry and services.
  • It forms a part of China’s trillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a plan to fund infrastructure projects and increase its influence overseas.
  • China is Iran’s leading trade partner and was one of the biggest buyers of Iranian oil before then US president Donald Trump reimposed sweeping unilateral sanctions in 2018 after abandoning a multilateral nuclear agreement with Tehran.

India’s Concerns

  • Influence on Relationship with Other Countries: With increase in China Iran partnership, it will have a long-lasting impact on India’s relationship with not only Iran but also on Afghanistan and Central Asian nations.
  • Military Partnership: China is also concluding a security and military partnership with Iran. The sizable Chinese investments in Iranian ports development may eventually be turned into permanent military access arrangements with Iran.  China-Iran Strategic Cooperation Pact
  • Geopolitical Conflict: India finds itself caught in the geopolitical conflict between the US & China over Iran.
  • Strategic Stakes Around the Chabahar Port: With a growing Chinese presence in Iran, India is concerned about its strategic stakes around the Chabahar port project that it has been developing.

India Foreign Policy Approach Towards Iran

  • India will have more room for manoeuvring in the region by continuing to maintain a strong and friendly relationship with Iran.
  • While acknowledging changed regional geopolitical landscape, India should pursue continue the policy of maintaining positive relations with Iran, the Arab states and Israel.
  • The revival of the deal will open the door for US and European companies to resume business with Iran.
  • One should also not exclude the possibility of a Democratic US President reviving the Iran nuclear deal.
  • The pursuit of a closer security partnership with the US does not mean that India should follow the US lead on its other important relationships.
  • It is the reinstatement of severe economic sanctions that has led Iran to turn to China, but the latter has remained cautious.  China-Iran Strategic Cooperation Pact

 

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