Indian Express Editorial Summary

Editorial Topic : Misreading America’s Perspective on India

GS-2 Mains : IR

Revision Notes

Misreading America’s Perspective on India

  • India should not prioritize debates on how the West, especially the USA, views its democratic credentials.
  • India must keenly observe the US elections and their outcome due to their impact on India’s trade and security interests.

Misplaced Indian Media Fixation

  • Indian media often depicts the US as overly concerned with India’s “democratic backsliding” and election interference.
  • In reality, the US faces more pressing challenges:
    • Russian invasion of Ukraine in Europe.
    • China’s expansionism in Asia.
    • Gaza conflict influencing American domestic politics.
    • Inability to effectively counter the Sino-Russian alliance posing a threat to US global interests.
    • Visits by China’s Xi Jinping to Europe and the upcoming visit by Russia’s Vladimir Putin to China underscore the growing strategic coordination between Beijing and Moscow against the West.

Overlooking Crucial US Domestic Discourse

  • Little attention in India on crucial US domestic debates, particularly regarding the upcoming elections.
  • Potential return of Donald Trump to the presidency concerns US allies, but Indian media missed covering his recent interview outlining plans relevant to India.
  • Indian media prioritizes commentary from US State Department spokespersons over actual US domestic political discourse.

Western Media’s Limited India Coverage

  • Western media’s coverage of Indian elections primarily relies on reports from India-based correspondents, consumed more in India than the West.
  • Indian foreign reporting focuses more on Western media’s coverage of India than the actual political situation in the countries where reporters are stationed.
  • Commentary on Indian democracy in Western media constitutes a small portion of their overall output.

Western Interests over Ideology

  • Debate about Western nations promoting democracy is inaccurate.
  • Their foreign policies are driven by capitalist and security interests, not spreading a specific ideology.
  • Slogans like “democracy promotion” don’t reflect the reality of US foreign policy, just as “strategic autonomy” discussions don’t reveal much about India’s actual foreign policy actions.
  • Every country has its own narrative about its global role, but these are adjusted based on realpolitik and external circumstances.
  • US’s past support for Pakistan’s military, overlooking human rights abuses, contradicts the idea of democracy being their top priority.
  • Supporting China’s rise and aiding the rise of Islamic extremism in Afghanistan show US foreign policy prioritizes interests over ideology.
  • This is not a criticism of the US but highlights the gap between their stated goals and actual actions.
  • Geopolitical and economic interests, not spreading democracy, are the main drivers of US foreign policy.

Concerns for India

  • US elections matter to India beyond Indian democracy being a talking point.
  • Potential fallout of a change of guard in Washington:
    • Possible US trade policy changes under Trump, including a 10% import tariff, could significantly impact India’s trade.
    • Trump’s foreign policy towards Russia and China affects India’s strategic partnership with the US.
    • Trump’s immigration policies targeting undocumented immigrants, including many Indians, should concern India.
    • Potential changes to the US government under Trump could have global implications, including for India.

Internal Battles for Indian Democracy

  • Ultimately, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s warnings about a potential “dictatorship” in India and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s use of the Constitution in his election rallies hold more significance than editorials on Indian elections in The New York Times and The Guardian.
  • The true fight for Indian democracy is internal, not a contest between Delhi and Western capitals.


Indian Express Editorial Summary

Editorial Topic : Chabahar Port Deal

GS-2 Mains : IR

Revision Notes

Basic Concept

Chabahar Port is a significant port located on the Gulf of Oman in the southeastern region of Iran. It holds strategic importance for India for several reasons:

  • Alternative Trade Route: Instead of going through Pakistan, Chabahar Port provides India with an alternative route for trading with Afghanistan and Central Asian countries.
  • Sea-Land Connectivity: Chabahar Port has the potential to connect India with Afghanistan by road and rail routes through Iran. This would boost trade between the two nations.
  • International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC): Chabahar Port serves as a key entry point for this multinational transport corridor linking India, Russia, Iran, Europe, and Central Asia. This unlocks greater trade possibilities.
  • Strategic Competition: Chabahar Port is located close to Pakistan’s Gwadar Port, which is being developed by China. For India, developing Chabahar helps counter China’s growing influence in the region.
  • Economic Development: There are plans to establish a free trade zone around Chabahar Port. This would promote economic development in Iran and the wider region.

In essence, Chabahar Port presents a crucial opportunity for India to enhance trade, strengthen connectivity, and solidify its strategic position in the region.

Back to the Editorial Analysis 

Chabahar Port Deal: Key Points

  • 2003: Landmark visit by Iranian President Khatami to India led to agreements, including developing Chabahar Port for access to Persian Gulf, Afghanistan, Central Asia, and Europe.
  • 2015-Present: Despite US-Iran tensions and India-US ties growing closer, India has continued pursuing Chabahar Port development.
  • May 2024: India Ports Global Ltd. (IPGL) signed a 10-year deal with Iran’s Ports and Maritime Organisation to operate a Chabahar port terminal.
  • Investment:
    • IPGL to directly invest ~$120 million.
    • India to offer credit equivalent to ~$250 million.
  • Significance: Project’s strategic importance remains, though Taliban takeover of Afghanistan may impact coordination.

Chabahar Deal’s Sanction Concerns

  • Apprehensions over US sanctions on Iran affecting India’s strategic Chabahar bet, may be exaggerated.
  • Under Donald Trump’s tenure in 2017, despite his hawkish stance on Iran, Delhi secured a waiver from sanctions for Chabahar project, citing access to Afghanistan.
  • On the commercial front, complications arise over permissible products, volumes for trade with/through Iran, concerning some Western allies.
  • China’s deep entrenchment in Central Asian markets, including via Belt and Road Initiative, poses challenges.

Uncertain Connectivity Projects

  • Chabahar is a potential component of the Russia-Iran-India envisioned International North-South Transport Corridor, linking South Asia to Central Asia and Europe.
  • Tensions within Europe and between Iran-West make this project challenging.
  • The India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor, announced at 2022 G20 Delhi summit as a counter to BRI, seeks to build road, rail, shipping networks through India’s near-West to Western Europe.
  • However, the Israel-Hamas conflict has paused gains of the Abraham Accords, slowing down the project.

Delhi’s Strategic Pursuit

  • These diverse partnerships illustrate Delhi’s pursuit of multiple routes as it looks westward.
  • India is willing to negotiate the complex global strategic environment to achieve its connectivity goals.

Additional Notes ( Arora IAS)

Impact of Chabahar Port on Pakistan and China 

  1. China & Pakistan view Chabahar as India’s counter to their China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

  2. India uses Chabahar to bypass Pakistan and access Afghanistan and Central Asia.

  3. China might be concerned about India gaining influence in the region.

  4. Pakistan fears Gwadar port (CPEC) losing importance to Chabahar.

  5. However, some argue both ports can coexist. Gwadar can handle larger ships that feed cargo to Chabahar.

  6. Iran maintains Chabahar isn’t a rival and invites Pakistan to join its development.

  7. Tensions could rise if China uses Gwadar for military purposes.

  8. Afghanistan benefits from a new trade route bypassing Pakistan.

  9. Pakistan might develop alternative routes through China to avoid Chabahar.

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