While philosophers may argue money doesn’t buy everything, for China, other than PR which can hide its misdeeds of unleashing deadly virus on the world, it also seems to have now bought ‘strategic relations’ with India’s ally Iran. The Communist government in China is all set to sign a 25-year USD 400 billion ‘economic and strategic partnership’ deal with Iran.
This strategic deal will open Iran’s door for China across the Iranian economy. From banking to telecommunication to ports and railways – China will be able to expand its net in Iranian economy across sectors. Over a dozen projects in Iran are expected to go to Chinese companies. In return, China is hoping for cheaper, steady oil supply from Iran at a heavily discounted rate for quarter of a century.
Further, WION news reports that Iran and China will undertake joint military training and exercises, research and weapon development as well as share intelligence inputs. With this, China may overshadow India’s relationship with Iran. This could cloud India’s prospects at Chabahar port, which was seen as one of India’s biggest strategic moves to counter China-Pakistan’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
Chabahar Port is seen as India’s gateway for trade in Central Asian countries. Strategically located in the Sistan-Baluchistan Province on Iran’s southern coast, Chabahar port lies outside the Persian Gulf and can be easily accessed from India from the Kandla port. In May 2016, India signed a bilateral deal with Iran which gave us the right to develop and operate two terminals and five berths with multipurpose cargo handling capacities in Chabahar port for 10 years.
As of now, China has not confirmed whether the 400 billion dollar deal with Iran is finalised or not.