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Iran Deal: Has China Stepped On A Visible Landmine Laid By Modi Government ?

“The smiles of the Chinese and the Russians are as harmful and destructive to Iran as Trump’s frown” – Journalist Shirzad Abdollahi in Hamdeli


In a recent development in July 2020, Iran-China inked a $400 billion deal. This is a 25-year pact:

Xi Jinping and Rouhani : Courtesy Reuters

The pact was first proposed in a January 2016 trip to Iran by Chinese President Xi Jinping, during which the two sides agreed to establish their ties based on a ‘Comprehensive Strategic Partnership’, while announcing discussions would begin aimed at concluding a 25-year bilateral pact. Around the same time in May 2016, Indian PM Modi visited Iran to sign the 10-year Chabahar port contract. Was Modi in Iran for a great future gameplan?

The answer is ‘Yes’. The game plan was to:


I had predicted an year ago that China would take initiative in Iran sooner than later and the Indian game plan would work out. It might happen that Iran hands over the Chabahar port to China in toto, once the short-term Indian contract expires. In that case, China might abandon the Gwadar port altogether or make it a low key affair. There are four scenarios emerging in the very fast-changing landscape of geopolitics. Let us analyze along with relevant Chinese stratagems:

1. India volunteered for the Chabahar project to sabotage the Pakistani project, CPEC. China understands the vulnerability of CPEC, which passes through volatile POK & Balochistan. Indians have shown their vehement objection to the project, since it passes through Indian territory of POK. China took the Indian bait and shifted its focus to Iran. (Feign Madness but Keep your Balance– Hide behind the mask of a fool, a drunk, or a madman to create confusion about your intentions and motivations).

2. India-US have an understanding wherein the US gave India waver on the Chabahar Port, in return India made no progress on the rail project, so that China jumps into the trap and expands its resources, far and wide. Once China exposes itself in the region, Iran could be choked, to take the Chinese project to its logical conclusion: failure. (Lure them onto the roof, then take away the Ladder– With baits and deceptions, lure your enemy into treacherous terrain, then cut off his lines of communication and avenue of escape; to save himself, he must fight both your own forces and the elements of nature). Iranian populace and opposition leaders are unhappy that Iran is getting into a debt trap as well as allowing foreign forces into their land. They are vehemently opposing the one-sided pact: 

Tweet by Son of the last Shah of Iran

3. The least likely scenario is the understanding between India and China. In this scenario, the government of India gives up the Chabahar rail project(and eventually the Chabahar port itself), in return, China connects the Wakhan corridor to Chabahar port and not with CPEC. China’s trade routes are secured and CPEC remains in limbo.

4. The last scenario that is not being considered is ‘was India caught napping?’. That is not the case. Indian diplomats are astute and well respected in the diplomatic circles. They were very well aware of the situation and ready for the showdown for a long time.


The 18th-century writer philosopher Thomas Robert Malthus predicted a grim future of the Earth, based on his theory, which is popularly referred to as the Malthusian Catastrophe. Malthus predicted that a growing population will soon outpace the planet’s agricultural production capacity. In other words, at some point, there will be far too many people and very limited food supply, leading to great unrest. Though the modern scientific and technological know-how has proved Malthus wrong, the Chinese may prove him right in a different way, altogether. At the rate at which China is planning to expand, soon it would have too many projects and very limited funds. The Chinese regime, in its desire to be great again, is spreading itself too wide and far, at breakneck speed. The Chinese leadership is wasting hard-working Chinese citizen’s money in faraway lands, with no foreseeable return in the near future. Iranians are very strong nationalist. They do not like any external involvement or interference, beyond a certain limit. This proposition makes Chinese success in Iran a very slim one. Similar Chinese zeal of $200 billion has failed in Africa. Post-pandemic China is looking at loan defaults, and requests for waivers from most of the African nations. China is also staring at economic blockade from the Western and Asian blocks, due to its role in the pandemic. China’s recent handling of Indo-Tibetan border, aggression in the South China Sea, Hong Kong National Security Law, treatment of Uighur & Tibetan minorities, and regular threats to Taiwan might become its death knell.

Has China bitten the Indian bullet or it is smarter than that, only time would tell. However, if India wants to emerge as a future Superpower, it has to start working on it, today. This lesson from Niccolò Machiavelli, the Italian Renaissance diplomat, philosopher, and writer, is a very apt and important one for India- ”There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things.”

Article by Commander Sandeep Dhawan (Veteran)

The article was originally posted here

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