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Dropped India from Chabahar rail project due to lack of active engagement: Iran

Iran remains open to all including India for collaboration and investment but Tehran expects future projects should be safeguarded from third party unilateral sanctions.

Iran remains open to all including India for collaboration and investment but Tehran expects future projects should be safeguarded from third party unilateral sanctions.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Iran dropped India from the Chabahar rail project because of “absence of active Indian engagement,” Iranian sources said on Tuesday, confirming The Hindu’s report. Iran remains open to all including India for collaboration and investment but Tehran expects future projects should be safeguarded from third party unilateral sanctions.

“It was expected that in addition to the investment in Chabahar Port, India could also play a more crucial role in funding and constructing this strategic transit route from Chabahar to Zahedan and from Zahedan to Sarakhs at the border with Turkmenistan which in the absence of an active Indian engagement and partnership, currently is under construction by Iranian funding and engineering capacities,” said Iranian sources. The Hindu reported on Tuesday that Iran had gone ahead with the important transit project on its own citing delays from the Indian side in funding.

U.S. sanctions

The delay has also indicated at possible impact of U.S. sanctions on India’s projects with Iran. Though India secured exemption for the Chabahar port from U.S. sanctions, bilateral ties with Iran took a hit in February after the riots in Delhi drew condemnation from Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif. That apart India-Iran energy trade was hit when India shut energy imports from Iran because of the threat of U.S. sanctions, which also affected the IRCON-Iranian Rail Ministry MoU for the construction of the Chabahar-Zahedan rail project.

India had firmed up the railway plans in May 2016 during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Tehran to sign the Chabahar agreement with Iranian President Rouhani and Afghan President Ghani. Iran’s latest action drew attention as it came in the backdrop of Tehran finalising a 25-year strategic partnership agreement with Beijing which was negotiated in secrecy. Iran, however, said the agreement was a “road map for future cooperation” between the two sides.

“Such agreements are fully in the line with Iran’s publicly declared ‘Look East Policy’ and suggest that Iran is determined to expand its relations with all Asian partners and in particular China and India as two friendly countries,” said the Iranian source, promising that India will remain among Iran’s friends and “would be welcomed as a friend.”

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Printable version | Aug 10, 2020 12:51:57 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/dropped-india-from-chabahar-rail-project-due-to-lack-of-active-engagement-iran/article32083279.ece

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