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EghtesadOnline: A former Ambassador of India to Kyrgyzstan believes that the talks about India may use the Iranian Chabahar Port to send military forces to Afghanistan to help stabilize the situation there if needed and requested for are baseless and merely propaganda.

In an exclusive interview with IRNA, Ambassador Phunchok Stobdan said, “The idea of India may use the Chabahar Port to send troops to Afghanistan if needed and requested for, is nothing but propaganda. No one is thinking and talking about sending Indian troops to Afghanistan. If it wants to send troops to Afghanistan, they can be sent through air. The US and NATO forces did not need a port to send troops to Afghanistan.”

Earlier, in an exclusive interview with IRNA here on India’s main objectives from signing the Chabahar Port Agreement with Iran, a retired General of the Indian Army General Gagandeep Bakshi had said, “The primary strategic aim is to loosen Pakistan’s stranglehold upon the long suffering state of Afghanistan. Above all, it serves to reduce Pakistan stranglehold over Afghanistan. If push comes to shove in that most unfortunate land, this beltway will enable India to militarily come to the aid of Afghanistan by putting boots on the ground- if needed and asked for.”

Terming the importance of the Chabahar Port Project for India as “great”, Ambassador Phunchok Stobdan said,“Theoretically and symbolically, the importance of the Chabahar Port Project for India is great. Sufficient articulations have already been made from all angles and there is nothing to add to them.”

On the roles Iran and India can play to secure peace and stability in Afghanistan at the present scenario, he said, “India sees no chance to talking to the Taliban at least officially. Talking about joining hands with Afghan Tajiks and Uzbeks even Hazara seems now looks outdated. India has taken a bilateral approach to deal with Afghan issue.”

To a question on the need for an only-Afghan peace process to end the current crisis in the country, the Ambassador said, “I agree, but the basic problem in Afghanistan is the lack of unity among Afghans. They themselves are keen to draw foreign intervention. It is too late to exclude external players.'

Chabahar Iran-India relations