A major reason for delay in execution of the Chabahar port project is due to delays from the Iranian side, said former Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar in his first comments since stepping down from the post in January.
“In the case of Chabahar, I know we always like to beat up on ourselves. But to be very honest a lot of the problems were because the Iranians kept changing the terms of the agreement. I mean they changed it in very fundamental ways at least about three times in the last three years,” Dr. Jaishankar said while delivering the ‘Jasjit Singh memorial lecture on national security’ organised by the Centre for Air Power Studies.
Dr. Jaishankar who is now the President, Global Corporate Affairs of the Tata group, was talking about the changes in the Indian foreign policy of which he said the major change over the last 3-4 years was project execution. The other changes according to him are financing and delegation of powers.
Gateway to Afghanistan
India which sees Chabahar’s Shahid Beheshti port as a gateway to Afghanistan and Central Asia, has committed $85 million on the current phase of construction, and a total of $500 million on the project.
On the delay in execution of projects by India in many countries, Dr. Jaishankar said often “the conceptualisation of projects had been flawed.”
“If you look at where our projects haven’t done well, these are hardworking environments,” he said giving the example of Myanmar, where India is implementing the Kaladan multimodal transit transport project. Despite looming U.S. sanctions over oil imports from Iran, India has expressed confidence that the project would be operational by 2019.