How Iran Plans to Secure the Chabahar Bay?
In a future scenario with an envisaged investment of Rs One Lakh Crore or US $ 12-14 Billion by India alone, the security of Chabahar Port assumes significance. The rider of removal of United States sanctions on Iran will be the political risk but India seems to have factored in the same as a PTI report in 2016 quoted the Union Shipping Minister Mr Nitin Gadkari stating, “Over Rs 1 lakh crore investment can happen in Chabahar free trade zone.”
For security of the Chabahar Bay, Iran Navy is putting into place the network of ports for the same. This was evident after a new port Konarak was revealed.
Mehr News Agency and other Iranian media reported that the ‘Konarak’ guided missile launcher has formally joined Iranian Naval fleet on 08 October in a ceremony attended by Iran’s Navy Commander Real Admiral Khanzadi, Friday prayers leader and governor of Konarak, Sistan and Baluchestan province. Konark is a Kalat class missile launcher which will join Iranian Navy’s fleet in the Sea of Oman
Importantly the new warship was launched, “at a naval base in Iran’s south eastern port city of Konarak,” as per Fars News.
Konarak is also the airport that hosts flights to Chabahar and is a military base. The details of the Konark naval base are not available.
On the other edge of the Chabahar Bay, 30 km to the west of Pakistan’s Gwadar Iranian Navy announced that it is developing the port of Pasabandar in February 2013 Progress on the port is awaited.
Pasabandar is registered on the websites logging marine traffic but no arrivals or departure information has been shown indicating that the port is not operational
Konarak port is not registered, thus more details would be necessary to come to definitive conclusions.
Nevertheless Iran Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari revealed in 2013 that the country is establishing a base in the port city Pasabandar in the Sea of Oman. “The naval base, which is under construction, is situated in the Gwadar Gulf on our country’s farthest eastern shores bordering Pakistan,” Sayyari said as per Azer News.
“A working group on Cabinet level, headed by Deputy President, has been established to develop Makran coastal areas, and a general scheme of establishing an organization for developing Makran coastal areas has been worked out, as specific authority for the development,” then Defence Minister Vahidi had stated.
At present this port infrastructure appears basic and is not likely to support a naval fleet or even large ships being based there but in days to come these could provide the necessary security for Chabahar Bay.
In the larger strategic game plan this will also provide Iran complete domination of the Northern coast of the Persian Gulf.