عنوان مقاله [English]
In the last two decades, China and India, two countries with high economic growth, huge economy, and extensive trade, have emerged as two Asian powers and even global powers. Both countries have great regional and global ambitions. China is pursuing a new system of power relations and international relations through its Belt and Road Initiative, while India is trying to create a new convergence of power relations with its Asian policy, while expanding its sphere of influence. Both countries pursue a policy of connecting and accessing Eurasia's geopolitical areas by adopting a geo-economic strategy. In this context, Pakistan and Iran have become appropriate options for creating connection corridors in Eurasia by China and India, with two main points being Gwadar and Chabahar ports. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to investigate and explain the geopolitical and geo-economic competition between China and India in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and the International North-South Transport Corridor and to investigate the role of both Chabahar and Gwadar ports in this competition.
The two major Asian economies and powers have focused on connection corridors to expand their sphere of influence, export surplus products, have access to large consumer markets, secure the supply of sustainable energy, and pursue national interests in peripheral areas. Decision makers and strategists within the Chinese government have proposed China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project, based on the Port of Gwadar. This corridor is an important part of a major Silk Road reconstruction project, called "One Belt One Road" or "Belt and Road Initiative". In contrast, the Indians proposed the "International North-South Transport Corridor" with its focus on Chabahar Port and the land of Iran. China's presence at Gwadar Port and India's presence at Chabahar Port are analyzed and explored in the context of China and India's geopolitical and geo-economics competitions in South Asia and access to Eurasia. Therefore, this study seeks to explain the geopolitical and geo-economics competitions of China and India in these corridors as well as the geopolitical role of Gwadar and Chabahar ports in this competition.
Methods and Material
The study focuses on two China-Pakistan economic corridors and International North–South Transport Corridor in Pakistan and Iran. The two oceanic ports of Gwadar and Chabahar are at the heart of this article. The research uses descriptive-analytical method with its data, collected in a library manner.
Results and Discussion
The starting point of the International North–South Transport Corridor onshore route is Chabahar Port in southeastern Sistan and Baluchistan Province. The closest Iranian city to India, Chabahar is the only oceanic port in Iran. The geographical location and high potential of transit make the Indians pay special attention to Chabahar port. In addition, India's long-standing rivalry with Pakistan in the Gwadar Port as well as massive Chinese investment in that port have increased the Indian government's incentive to develop Chabahar port so as to access Central Asian and Eurasian markets. Accordingly, Chabahar is India's "golden gateway" to the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and Afghanistan with broad potentials for connecting business centers in South Asia (India), the Gulf region (Dubai), Central Asia, and Afghanistan. Therefore, Chabahar port is of particular geostrategic, geopolitical, and geo-economic importance for India. This is especially evident when the port is seen in the context of the geopolitical and geo-economic competitions of China and India. From this point of view, Chabahar is a focal point and gateway for the Indians who do not want to miss it easily.
The two governments of China and Pakistan signed an agreement in 2013 to activate the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, whereby the Corridor Development Project will include establishment of a railroad, motorway, and energy pipeline linking the port city of Gwadar in Balochistan Province, Pakistan, to the Chinese city of Kashgar in Xinjiang Province in western China. The Gwadar Port plays a central role in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. This port will play a key role in China-Pakistan strategic relationship, being pivotal for the future of China-Pakistan strategic relations and sustainable economy. China's widespread investment in the Gwadar Port, China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, and the Karakoram Highway is more than just an economic issue. China pursues broad strategic, geopolitical, and geo-economic goals in the project in medium and long term. Geopolitically, China's relationship with Pakistan to build the Gwadar Port is a strategic focal point in Belt and Road Initiative. On the one hand, it is a gateway to the Arabian Sea, the Persian Gulf, Western Asia, South Asia, and Indian Ocean, and on the other hand, the starting point for easy access to western China and Karakoram plain as well as easy trade with Central Asian countries.
The results show that India is working to improve its geopolitical and geo-economic weight against China and Pakistan through Chabahar Port and Iran’s Corridor. India tries to achieve a regional balance of power with China through Iran’s space and Chabahar Port.