Explaining the Role and Function of Geopolitical the Gulf of Chabahar in Indian Ocean Developments (Emphasizing India-China Competition)

Document Type : Research Paper


1 PhD of Political Geography, Imam Hossein University, Tehran

2 Professor of Political Geography, Kharazmi University, Tehran

3 Associate Professor of Political Geography, Kharazmi University, Tehran

4 Assistant Professor of Sociology, Imam Hossein University, Tehran


After the collapse of the Soviet Union, geopolitical relations centered on the geoeconomic on the world scale; this means that the economic function of the places gives them geopolitical weight. The Gulf of Chabahar is a geopolitical geographic location that places this gulf in the spotlight of the world's economic powers. The Gulf of Chabahar, as an interconnecting space between the inner and outer space, can play a strategic role in the modern political economy of the international and the political economy of trade and the transit of energy in the Indian Ocean; it also plays a strategic role in shaping a regional cooperation organization. Iran can use this capacity to organize regional and international institutions, particularly in the Indian Ocean, thereby linking the interests of other countries with the Oman sea coast; In addition, Iran can promote its geopolitical status in the world and the region, and by establishing a regional and global consensus, provide new opportunities for security.
The methodology governing the research is a mixed method that the researcher considered it through library studies and conducting exploratory interviews, the indicators. The questionnaire has been developed to verify the validity and reliability of the interviews.
Results and discussion
The present study was conducted as a correlation research to explore the geopolitical influences of the Gulf of Chabahar on Indian Ocean developments, especially in the rivalries between India and China. In the theoretical part of the research, the researcher examined and analyzed the various theories about political actors and selected the theories that could be used as the basis for the study and the conceptual framework of the research. Finally, a mix model was developed and it was used as a theoretical framework for research. Findings of the analysis, made it clear that the Gulf of Chabahar possesses the potential and actual capabilities that the powers of China and India can use in their power relations from cooperation to competition. In fact, the Gulf of Chabahar is a coin that plays a role on the one hand of the coin (geopacific) and on the other, the competition and the conflict (geopolitics). Iran and other political actors, by adopting a geo-economic approach, will be able to forgive the developments in the Indian Ocean by sharing interests in the Gulf of Chabahar. Therefore, two views are open to Iran and other actors: the geopolitical view and the geoeconomic view, each of which has its own landscape and space, and when the actors look from the geopolitical view to the geographic space, they will see that structural and functional elements, individually or collectively, completely or incompletely play a role in various political, economic, cultural, security dimensions and attract the attention of political actors to this geopolitical space.
Therefore, the Indian Ocean can be considered as a geopolitical region in which various local and global actors play a role to acquire power resources, among which two main actors in this area are India and China, which are as active characters in the region: each one in attempting to take the hegemony of the Indian Ocean region, must observe some requirements in their foreign policy.  Therefore the geopolitical rivalry of both India and China will be continued and each one must adopt an effective and applicable political strategy. Politics and relations between powers and political actors have always been an arena for rivalry and an endless struggle for gaining, preserving and upgrading power, as geographic spaces do not have the capacity to meet all the needs of actors, and the principle of scarcity rests on such spatial domains. Accordingly, power is considered as the ultimate goal because of its fundamental role in providing other purposes. In other words, all human values ​​and their realization depend on an element naming power, and gaining power is equal to the survival, security and realization of the values which are followed by an actor. India and China are no exception. But if we look out of the geo-economics view, we will encounter a geographic space in which actors with a positive perspective seek to reach their interests in the shadow of collaboration with other actors; in other words, the logic of the non-zero algebraic summation is replaced by the logic of zero algebraic summation. The actors will step in the direction of geopacific. Thus, if the Islamic Republic of Iran looks at the geopacific and geo-economic views in the Indian Ocean, it will find a favorable space for the beginning of cooperation and convergence China and India as well as other actors. This opportunity paves the way for IRI to increasing their weight and improves its position. Hence, the increase of the Gulf of Chabahar in Indian Ocean, the paper plan presented suggestions in three, economic, political and military-security sections in three national, regional and international scales.
The result of the analysis showed that there is a meaningful relation between the geopolitics of the Gulf of Chabahar  and the Indian Ocean and the Indian-Chinese rivalry in the alpha level of P = 0.00. As a result, there is a correlation between the two variables and it can be assured with 0.99% that if the geopolitical capacities and capabilities of the Gulf of Chabahar are used properly. The ratio of the Indian Ocean's role will increase especially the India-China rivalries. It was inferred from the answers to the questionnaire that 82% of experts and authorities believe that the geopolitics of the Gulf of Chabahar has a great impact on Indian Ocean changes, especially between India and China.


Main Subjects

  1.  براون، دیتر، 1981، ویژگی‌های جدید در روابط هند با کشورهای ساحلی اقیانوس هند، ترجمة همایون الهی، انتشارات قومس، تهران.
  2. پورپویان، رضا، صابرفرزام، حمید و اسماعیل پارسایی، 1389، ظرفیت‌های مکانی توسعة منطقة آزاد چابهار (فرصت‌ها، تنگناها و راهکارها)، مجلة سیاسی-اقتصادی، شمارة 273- 274، صص 150-165.
  3. دهقان، یداله و مهدی کاظمی، 1390، بررسی روابط ایران و هند در سایة ظهور هند به‌عنوان یک قدرت منطقه‌ای، کتاب آبی، انتشارات ابرار معاصر، تهران.
  4. سوواکول، بنجامین، 1391، مرجع امنیت انرژی، ترجمة علیرضا طیب، انتشارات ابرار معاصر، تهران.
  5. عزتی، عزت‌اله و شمس‌الدین شکری، 1391، بررسی جایگاه چابهار در ترانزیت شمال-جنوب و نقش آن در توسعة شهرهای هم‌جوار، فصلنامة جغرافیایی سرزمین، سال نهم، شمارۀ 36، صص 1-14.
  6. کریمی‌پور، یدالله و محمد حیدری، 1388، ژئوپلیتیک کرانه‌های دریایی ایران از دیدگاه مدیریت یکپارچة مناطق ساحلی، انتشارات سازمان بنادر و دریانوردی، چاپ اول، تهران.
  7. کریمی‌پور، یدالله، 1380، ایران و همسایگان (منابع تنش و تهدید)، چاپ اول، انتشارات دانشگاه تربیت‌معلم، تهران.
  8. کریمی‌پور، یدالله، 1389، ارزیابی ژئوپلیتیک بازارهای گاز طبیعی ایران، نشریة تحقیقات کاربردی علوم جغرافیایی، جلد 16، شمارة 19، صص 7-25.
  9. کریمی‌پور، یدالله، 1392، جزوة درسی بنیان‌های ژئوپلیتیک ایران، دانشگاه خوارزمی.
  10. کامران، حسن، 1381، علل توسعه‌نیافتگی مناطق آزاد ایران، فصلنامة تحقیقات جغرافیایی، دورة هفدهم، شمارة 2-3، صص 32- 42.

11. Brown, D., 1981, New Features in Indian Relationships with the Coastal States of the Indian Ocean, Translated by Homayoun Elahi, Ghomes Publications, Tehran. (In Persian)

  1. 12.  Pourpooyan, R., Saffarrzam, H., and Esmaeil, P., 2010, Spatial Capabilities of Chabahar Free Zone Development (Opportunities, Bottlenecks, and Solutions), Economic and Political Magazine, 273-274, PP.150-165. (In Persian)

13. Dehghan, Y., and Mehdi, K., 2011, An Investigation of Iran-India Relationships in the Shadow of the Advent of India as a Regional Power, Blue Book, Abrar Contemporary Press, Tehran. (In Persian)

14. Swakool, B., 2012, Energy Security Reference, Alireza Tayeb Translation, Abrar Contemporary Publication, Tehran. (In Persian)

15. Ezzati, E., and, Shokri, Sh., 2012, Study of the Position of Chabahar in the North-South Transit and Its Role in the Development of Neighboring Towns, Geographical Quarterly, Ninth Year, No. 36, PP. 1 - 14. (In Persian)

16. Karimipour, Y., and Heidari, M., 2009, Geopolitics of Iranian Sea Shores From Integrated Coastal Zone Management Perspectives, Ports and Maritime Organization Press, First Printing, Tehran. (In Persian)

17. Karimipour, Y., 2001, Iran and Its Neighbors (Sources of Tension and Threat), First Edition, Tarbiat Moallem University Press, Tehran. (In Persian)

18. Karimipour, Y., 2010, Geopolitical Evaluation of Iran's Natural Gas Markets, Journal of Applied Research of Geographic Sciences, Volume 16, Issue 19, PP. 7-25. (In Persian)

19. Karimipour, Y., 2013, Booklet of Geopolitical Foundations of Iran, Kharazmi University. (In Persian)

20. Kamran, H., 2002, Causes of Underdevelopment in Free Regions of Iran, Quarterly Journal of Geographic Survey, Volume 17, Issue 2-3, Series 66-65, PP. 32-42. (In Persian)

21. Bloomberg Report India`S Oil Imports, 2016.

22. Bp Statistical Review of Word Energy, 2009.

23. BP Statistical Review of World Energy, 2015.

24. Global Economic Prospects, 2016.

25. Hansen, B. E., 2000, Sample Splitting and Threshold Estimation, Econometrica, Vol. 68, No. 3, May.

26. http://economictimes.indiatimes.com.

27. http://tonto.eia.doe.gov.

28. International Energy Agency, 2007, World Energy Outlook, Paris.

29. International Energy Agency, 2007.

30. Microsoft Encarta Reference Library, 2010.

31. Robert D. K., 2010, Monsoon: The Indian Ocean and the Future of American Power, Random House, Published October 2010.

32. www.wto.org/statistics, World Trade Organization International Trade Statistics 2015, PP. 41-42, 2016.

33. Global Energy Statistical Yearbook, 2016.