Iran To Establish Naval Base In Indian Ocean By March 2021 To Counter Anglo-American Diego Garcia Base

Iran has announced its intention to establish a permanent Naval Base in the Indian Ocean by March next year. The commander of the Naval Forces, Ali Reza Tungsiri, said that the Guards have directives from Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, to be present on the high seas permanently.

  • Iran has announced its intention to establish a permanent Naval Base in the Indian Ocean by 2021
  • Iranian fishermen and merchant ships were exposed to harassment by pirates in the Gulf of Oman and the Indian Ocean, says Commander of the Iranian Naval Forces
  • Permanent presence of the guards in those areas would prevent any future attacks according to the official
  • Iran possesses the strategic port of Chabahar on the waters of the Indian Ocean and the Sea of ​​Oman
  • The port is intended to provide an alternative for trade between India and Afghanistan bypassing Pakistan’s Karachi port
  • However, India’s involvement in the port infrastructure development has been minimal due to American sanctions
  • The Iranian presence in the Indian Ocean is also seen as a counter to the Anglo-American base at Diego Garcia
  • Diego Garcia is the key launchpad for western powers in case of an attack on Iran – which is beyond the range of Iranian ballistic missiles
Iran to establish permanent Naval Base in Indian Ocean by March 2021
Iran to establish permanent Naval Base in Indian Ocean by March 2021 to counter Anglo-American base at Diego Garcia

The Iranian Revolutionary Guard announced its intention to establish a permanent military base in the Indian Ocean by next March, with the aim of providing security in the waters of the Gulf of Oman and the ocean, and protecting fishermen and merchant ships from piracy.

The commander of the Naval Forces, Ali Reza Tungsiri, said that the Guards have directives from Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, to be present on the high seas permanently.

In a press statement, Tungsiri said that the Iranian Army and Revolutionary Guards have previously sent fleets to the high seas, stressing that other future fleets will be sent.

The military official pointed out that Iranian fishermen and merchant ships were exposed to harassment by pirates in the Gulf of Oman and the Indian Ocean, stressing that the permanent presence of the guards in those areas would prevent any future attacks.

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It is noteworthy to mention that Iran possesses the strategic port of Chabahar on the waters of the Indian Ocean and the Sea of ​​Oman, but its development suffers from difficulties due to the U.S. sanctions on Tehran.

Development of the port was first proposed in 1973 by the last Shah of Iran, though development was delayed by the 1979 Iranian Revolution. India and Iran first agreed to plans to further develop Shahid Beheshti port in 2003, but did not do so on account of sanctions against Iran.

In May 2016, India and Iran signed a bilateral agreement in which India would refurbish one of the berths at Shahid Beheshti port, and reconstruct a 600 meter long container handling facility at the port. The port is partly intended to provide an alternative for trade between India and Afghanistan as it is 800 kilometers closer to the border of Afghanistan than Pakistan’s Karachi port.

In July 2016, India began shipping US$150 million worth of rail tracks to Chabahar to develop the port container tracks and build US$1.6 billion Chabahar–Zahedan railway built by India’s Ircon International. In October 2017, India’s first shipment of wheat to Afghanistan was sent through the Chabahar Port. In December 2018, India took over the port’s operations.

Despite intentions, India’s involvement in the infrastructure development within Iran has been minimal, due to the western pressure to apply sanctions.

The Iranian presence in the Indian Ocean is also seen as a counter to the Anglo-American base at Diego Garcia. The Indian Ocean island Naval Base of Diego Garcia is the key launchpad for western powers in case of an attack on Iran. In in the wake of the assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani in a drone strike, Pentagon sent six B-52 strategic bombers to military base on Diego Garcia that is beyond the range of Iran’s ballistic missiles to prepare to hit Tehran if given the order.

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