IRNA – The head of Iran’s Strategic Council on Foreign Relations says despite the opportunities in the Indian Ocean Rim, unfortunately the rivalries between some countries have had negative impacts on the region’s development.
Kamal Kharazi during a seminar on ‘Iran – Pakistan Development and Cooperation in the Indian Ocean’ at the Council of Foreign Relations in Karachi said, the wave of Takfiri terrorism has sparked insecurity and instability in many parts of the Indian Ocean Rim like Pakistan, Yemen, India, southern Persian Gulf states, Somalia, and East Africa.
He said the geopolitics of the Indian Ocean Rim is changing rapidly. “On the one hand, a group of countries in the region are on the track of fast development or at least, on its verge. On the other hand, unfortunately, instability and insecurity, as well as geopolitical rivalries, are high in the Indian Ocean area. In fact, development, insecurity, and rivalry are the three attributes of the Indian Ocean region,” said the Iranian scholar.
He added that over the last two decades, the countries of the Indian Ocean Rim, following East Asian and South Eastern Asian countries, have taken important steps towards their economic development.
“Abundant oil revenues in Persian Gulf have helped littoral states to develop. India has also taken the path of development and supported by Western countries. Silk Road initiative, proposed by the president of China in 2013, fosters investment in economic infrastructures of Pakistan,” the Iranian former foreign minister said.
Kharazi was of the view that Arab uprisings, which began in North Africa and spilled over to the Middle East and the Persian Gulf, have created unexpected instability in the whole region by the expansion of terrorism in an atmosphere of political vacuum created by Arab uprising.
The expert on international affairs said despite the opportunities in the Indian Ocean Rim, unfortunately the rivalries between some countries have had negative impacts on the region’s development.
He said Iran has developed Chabahar Port to be a platform for Indian Ocean cooperation. “India is using that port to have access to Afghanistan and Central Asia, and we welcome China, Pakistan, and Oman to join for a regional cooperation. Indian Ocean cooperation can be an effective force to reduce regional rivalries and expand security in the region,” he said.
He believed that in line with fostering regional connectivity, China, Iran, and Pakistan can cooperate to complete the Silk Road by connecting Gwadar port to Chabahar.
“In fact, by connecting Gwadar port to Chabahar, and using Iranian road and railway systems along Iranian south-north and east-west corridors, China would find access to Central Asia, Russia, Caucasus, Eastern and Western Europe, and of course, the Middle East,” he said.
He added no doubt the economic cooperation between Iran and Pakistan creates vast opportunities for the whole region. “Of course to make it a reality, security has to be intensified in the region, and in that respect cooperation between Iran and Pakistan is mandatory to make it possible,” he said.
Kharazi went on to say that promotion of economic cooperation between Iran and Pakistan is contingent on several factors such as normal banking relations, doing business based on national currencies, establishment of credit lines, implementation of tariffs agreement and free trade agreement.