Chabahar Port trade route to Afghanistan is a security threat to Pakistan.
Two former defense secretaries from Pakistan insist that the emerging alliance between India, Iran and Afghanistan is a serious threat to Pakistan. The secretaries were concerned over the trade route being established by the three countries, linking Chabahar Port with Afghanistan, a security threat. These comments were made by the former secretaries only a week after Chabahar Port trade route agreement was signed by Iran, Afghanistan and India. Moreover, the comments mirror opinions which may be rather popular within Pakistan military. The former defense secretary Lt. Gen. Asif Yasin Malik said,
The alliance between India, Afghanistan and Iran is a security threat to Pakistan… in view of the regional and global environment, I see Pakistan falling into an abyss of isolation primarily because of its own mistakes and partly due to the hostile policies of other states.
Iran however, has tried to dispel any such concerns regarding Chabahar Port and invited China and Pakistan to join and develop the port along with Pakistan’s Gwadar. He stated that Gwadar and Chabahar Port must not be seen as rivals but instead, sister ports. Sartaj Aziz, Adviser on Foreign Affairs, stated that Iran’s Chabahar is not a rival and that Pakistan was actually exploring the possibility of linking it with Gwadar. However, the former secretaries expressed concern over the emerging relationship between the three countries that encircled Pakistan. Retired Lt. Gen. Naeem Lodhi said,
We need to break out of this encircling move with help from friends… diplomatic maneuvers and by forging a strong deterrence… Iran must not be further alienated and its interests in CPEC should be developed.
Several other gentlemen formerly associated with Pakistan military shared similar views over recent developments regarding Chabahar Port. Given Iran’s invite, and Pakistan’s steady development of Gwadar Port, Pakistan may consider developing the two ports in harmony instead of creating another rival which the country, at this point, cannot afford. Iran must be engaged in China-Pak Economic Corridor (CPEC).
Read: Gwadar Worries India, Chabahar Port Development Quickens