[Diplomacy] Delaram Zaranj Highway, Chabahar Port: India-Iran-Afghanistan trade relations

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Unacademy Plus Mrunal Economy for Prelims and Mains UPSC!
  1. Delaram-Zaranj Highway
  2. Why Iran allowed Indian Investment?
  3. What’s India’s Problem?
  4. 16th NAM summit

Earlier we saw TAPI Pipeline issue, involving India-Afghanistan. (click Me if you didn’t). Here comes a new topic on India-Afghanistan (+Iran).

  • Afghanistan is a land-locked country. Most of its international trade is done through Pakistani sea-ports.
  • Therefore, India wished to connect to Afghanistan via an alternative route (through Iran).
  • So, In 2003 a trilateral agreement was signed among India, Iran and Afghanistan.
  • Under this agreement
    • Iran was to build a highway from Chabahar (a Port City of Iran) upto Afghanistan border.
    • India was to build a road connecting Delaram (border city of Afghanistan) to Zaranj (Capital of Nimruz province of Afghanistan)
Map showing the cities

India wanted to develop port @Chabahar (Iran) to do trading with Afghanistan, bypassing Pakistan.

Delaram-Zaranj Highway

  • Delaram–Zaranj Highway, also known as Route 606.
  • Length about 200km
  • It connects Delaram (border city of Afghanistan) to Zaranj (Capital of Nimruz province of Afghanistan).
  • India totally financed this project. (about 600 crore rupees).
  • Border Roads Organization (BRO) of India, has constructed this highway.
  • Construction started in 2005, and in 2009 the road was opened for public use.
  • During the construction of this highway,Taliban killed about 130 workers, including 4 Indians from BRO.

So far, all the roadway construction is finished.

India wished to access both Afghanistan and other central Asian nations (like Turkmenistan), through this Chabahar port, But the Chabahar port is not yet fully developed to handle the huge cargo to and from India.

All these years, India was requesting Iran to allow them to do some port Development on this port.

Why Iran allowed Indian Investment in Chabahar Port?

Chabahar Port (Iran)

Port city of Chabahar (Iran)

  • In the early 2012, US put sanction against Iran Oil export, i.e. if any country imports crude oil from Iran, then that country’s bank (through which payments are made to Iran) will not be allowed to do transections in USA.
  • Because of this sanction, most of the nations stopped importing oil from Iran, except some big ones like India and China, but India too felt the heat of US diplomatic pressure and agreed to cut down oil imports from Iran.

Majority of Iran’s nation income comes from Oil export, so, they’re also feeling the heat. They want money, so, Iranian Government has now allowed India do invest upto $100 million in the Chabahar Port Development project.

What’s India’s Problem?

Well, now Indian Government fears that doing any investment in Iran= USA will be annoyed. So, India wants two things

  1. Afghanistan must make a commitment that it will do trading through this Iranian port. (otherwise the whole project will be economically unviable). Because there is a good chance, Afghanistan may not do any trading at all, with pressure from US and Pakistan.
  2. Afghanistan should sign a triparitate MoU with Iran and India, make it look like Afghanistan badly wants this project for the Development of its own economy and we (Indians) are just helping in rebuilding the Afghanistan.

But Afghanistan has changed the tone now, they’re not saying anything about the project (may be under secret US pressure.) They’re not keen on signing any such agreement or MoU or statement.

In short, India’s problem is how to calibrate the political signal it sends out at a time when the West is focused on making economic sanctions work effectively against Iran, especially when Afghanistan too has been reluctant given the issues involved.

Mohan talking with Karzai

Mohan talking with Karzai

16th NAM summit

  • 16th NAM summit will be held in Iran, during August 30-31, 2012.
  • Our Prime minister is going to visit this summit and will try to negotiate with the Presidents of Iran and Afghanistan to sign up some new MoU document which will iron out all the problems related to delaram highway and Chabahar port construction.

For more articles on [diplomacy], visit mrunal.org/Diplomacy.

Indian History Freedom Struggle Pratik Nayak

46 Comments on “[Diplomacy] Delaram Zaranj Highway, Chabahar Port: India-Iran-Afghanistan trade relations”

  1. thanks mrunal sir……..for throwing such an insight on this topic……..

    sir my INTERNATIONAL RELATION & INSTITUTION part is weak……what book or magazine should i follow……..or reading it from the hindu is enough???

    sir since newspaper provide info only abt current happening but background information about tht issue is not there so i find it difficult..also to read from internet makes me confuse as how much to read n wht to skip????

  2. Thank u for this reportt and will like to hear more about it. And anything between afgjanistan and india will like to receive with warm welcom. Thank


  4. Bhaiya Ji I Am INDEBTED 2 You ………

  5. Thanks Mrunal Sir.

  6. Sir
    Sorry to ask you this again and again even though you said that you are not aware of this subjects.-BOTANY AND ZOOLOGY.It will be highly helpful if you provide ideas,notes,preparation strategy,coaching centres and book list for these two subjects.The link you have given earlier is not working and not at all clear and it confuses more.So please give us the needed guidance for these subjects.
    Thank you in advance.

  7. thanx a lot for this beautiful article.

  8. i think delaram is a city in western afghanistan not iran and iran was to build highway upto border town of zaranj not delaram……..anyways superbly funny article….esp the dialogue

  9. Correction : “Iran was to build a highway from Chabahar (a Port City of Iran) upto Afghanistan border city Delaram”
    Must be : Iran was to build a highway from Chabahar (a Port City of Iran) upto Afghanistan border city Zaranj.

    Zaranj is the border city and not delaram.

  10. My bad: Capital is still Zaranj! ;)


  12. Hi mrunal
    pl resolve the confusion in capital name….

    The link pertaining to TAPI pipe line is not a hyperlink.

  13. hello sir,

    if you can put some light on Gilgit-Baltistan issue, it will be rally grateful for me.


  14. Thanks a lot Mrunal!!!!!

  15. Hello sir,
    Links are not opening on IGNOU material, plz check it sir.

  16. Possible Roadblocks Ahead

    The most obvious resistance to an Indo-Iranian alliance in Afghanistan is likely to come from Pakistan. The memory of the Indo-Iranian collaboration in the 1990s will possibly play a part in Islamabad’s strategic thinking as the Northern Alliance was viewed as a deliberate attempt to thwart Pakistan’s influence in the country.

    The increasing influence of India and Iran in Afghanistan and implications of the development of the trade infrastructure for Pakistan will possibly stoke its fears of strategic encirclement, especially at a time when its relations with Kabul are not at their best. Such suspicions have resulted in attacks on Indian targets in Afghanistan by Pakistan-controlled groups in the past, which are likely to continue in the future, and possibly extend to target Iran as well.

    Another possible obstacle could be India’s relations with the US, which have strengthened in recent years. This is evident in India’s votes against Iran at the IAEA and its attempts to cut back on oil imports from Iran.

    They also have different perceptions regarding the US presence in Afghanistan, which can complicate the Indo-Iran equation further. While, Iran perceives the US presence in Afghanistan as a security threat, India is worried that the US withdrawal in 2014 may further worsen the situation. A possible Indo-USpartnership in Afghanistan – a new aspect of America’s post-2014 Afghan strategy –could hamper India’s cooperation with Iran in Afghanistan.

    Finally, some of Iran’s policies towards Afghanistan may also unravel its partnership with India. For instance, despite not wanting to see a Taliban-dominated Afghanistan, Iran has made overtures to them like allowing it to open an office in Zahedan and training and equipping the group. Similarly, it has attempts to fuel sectarian strife in Afghanistan by sending inflammatory text books found offensive by Sunni Muslims. All this is being done in an attempt to frustrate the US mission in Afghanistan by making it tougher for them to manage the situation in the country.

    However, such efforts strike at the very foundation of what brought India and Iran together in Afghanistan – opposition to the Taliban and a desire for stability in Afghanistan.

    1. By throwing its lot with US, India seems to have rocked the boat in South Asia, US presence in the Persian Gulf is resented both by the Iranians as well as the Chinese. It would be a tall order for India to manage things given this disparity.

  17. Hi Mrunal,

    Pl update if any thing held positive in this regard w.r.t the NAM summit and meeting held b/w INDIA’s Pm and IRAN counterpart (yesterday or today).

  18. Hi Mrunal,,

    Pl update if any thing held positive in this regard w.r.t the NAM summit and meeting held b/w INDIA’s Pm and IRAN counterpart (yesterday or today).

  19. what india will get by building a road connecting zaranj(border city of Afghanistan) to delaram

  20. hey mrunal just off topic why dont you become a cartoonist???? with such great quotes atleast papers will sell…

  21. Hi Mrunal you are doing a great job.. Thank you..

  22. No words to thank you & your efforts to keep civil service aspirants on track!!
    Thankyou so much Mrunal!! :)

  23. Sir, We kindly request you to start a newspaper dedicated for upsc aspirants.. u r our god..

  24. Hello Sir,
    How can i download the PDF form of your articles?
    Given link in the articles not working ……

  25. when i try to use the link given in articles the only heading comes in PDF

  26. in a marriage hall 120 marriages were held in a particular year .
    the age distribution is as shown below

    age (years) no of brides
    18 -20 12
    20-22 30
    22-23 30
    23-24 22
    24-26 18
    26-28 8

    determine the maximum age among youngest 30% of brides

    sir , plz solve this question this q has been repeatedly asked in
    kpsc exam and i dont know how to solve this plz help me

  27. i cant stop laughing with that photographic conversation

  28. Sir humble request to you, put date in full (including the year). See the 16th NAM summit date above that you have written. It will be more helpful for starters.

    1. dates of summits are not much important from exam point of view.

  29. This sounds like a lot of bullshit, for the obvious reason that India wants to free itself in the cleft stick that is Afghanistan, with the NATO withdrawal of 2014, a writing on the wall. Once the NATO, Afghanistan is back to the wolves again!, if this thing wasn’t factored by pour policy planners, then woe betide anyone who thinks of doing some serious business with India. The contrast to this Indian vacillation, the Chinese seem almost sure of their involvement and investments in not just Iran and Afghanistan but neighboring Pakistan as well!. The manner in which they singed the taking over of the rival Gwadar port in Pakistan, as well as the issue of funding the Pakistani side of the Iran Pakistan gas project, is a testimony to their resolute, something we sadly lack, while dealing with our projects abroad.

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