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Another blow to India as Tehran drops Delhi from Chabahar rail project

NEW DELHI: (KMS) – India continues to face blows from its one-time friendly countries with Iran the latest on the list to drop New Delhi from Chabahar rail project and has decided to construct the railway line from Chabahar to Zahedan on its own.

A multi-billion dollar deal with China is cited as the reason behind the fresh Iran’s decision. Iran has decided to move ahead with the construction of a railway line from Chabahar port to Zahedan without any assistance from India citing funding issue. India has been dropped four years after the project was finalized as part of a broader trilateral agreement with Afghanistan and Iran.

As per reports published in a section of Indian media, the entire project will be completed by March 22 and $400 million will be sanctioned by the Iranian National Development Fund for the project. The project, however, will be completed without any assistance from India.

The railway line project was part of India’s commitment to the trilateral agreement with Afghanistan and Iran to build an alternate trade route to Afghanistan and Central Asia and it was aimed at countering the Pakistan-China Economic Corridor project.

The deal was finalized during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Tehran in 2016 after he signed an agreement with the Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani.

The development comes at a time when Iran is seeking to finalize a 25-year economic and security partnership with China. The deal is worth $400 billion. The deal between Iran and China — if finalized — could result in a vast expansion of Chinese presence in various sectors of Iran including banking, telecommunications, ports, railways and numerous other projects.

In return, China will receive heavily discounted supply of Iranian oil regularly for the next 25 years. An 18-page document listing the proposed agreement also talks about deeper military cooperation, the reports said.


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