India may close to lose another ally in recent times when Tehran engaged with Beijing in a $400 billion partnership deal. This includes an investment from China in many domains from development to culture, in the time period of 25 years. In recent days, Iranian Transport and Urban Development Minister Muhammad Eslami inaugurated the 628 Km Chabahar to the Zahedan railway line project which will be extended to Zaranj across the border in Afghanistan.
According to Farhad Montaser, deputy to Iran’s Ports and Maritime Organization,
“Iran had only signed two agreements with Indians for investment in Chabahar: One is related to Ports, machinery, and equipment and the second is related to India’s investment to the tune of $150 million”.
But Iran has decided to drop India from the Rail project and tilt its weight towards China in heavy investment plans for the coming years. Tehran’s move toward China, possibly due to the sanctions from the US government on India for its interest in development projects.
Farhad Montaser called it
“totally false because Iran has not inked any deal with India regarding Zahedan-Chabahar railway”.
He also added
“Sanctions have nothing to do with Iran-India’s cooperation in Chabahar ”.
The agreement was to develop a Chabahar-Zahedan railway track as a part of the transit and transportation corridor in a trilateral contract between Iran, India, and Afghanistan. While India’s construction and consultancy firm IRCON promised to provide all finances around $1.6 billion for this project.
CPEC, China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is a turning point for a whole region, including South Asia & Central Asia
IRCON engineers made many site visits but did not start the work due to possible pressure from Washington, because the US already warns India of sanctions for its heavy investment in Iran. The US government sanctioned any country which tried to deal with the Iranian government in any development process. This pressure stops India to take further action for its development project in Iran and allows Iran to look for someone else for heavy investments in its port and railway projects.
- Article published in Dawn News