14 Jul 2020, 01:24 pm By Rohit Sindhu
Iran may deceit India at Chabahar port, has invited China secretly, says Sources

Iran has dropped India from the Chabahar rail project citing funding delays possibly due to the multi billion dollar deal with china influenced Iran's decison. Based on sources Iran may deciet India in the Chabahar port project as Chinese entry has taken place under a 25 years strategic partnership project with Iran. In recent move the Iranian government has decided to proceed with the construction on its own, citing delays from the Indian side in funding and starting the project. The railways line project which was a part of trilateral agreement between Afghanistan, Iran and India, seems have taken a u-turn. The rail project under Chabahar port project was finalised under a deal during the visit of PM Narendra Modi to Tehran in 2016.

Complicating the matter further, according to reports it is being said that Iran and China are close to finalising a 25-year Strategic Partnership which will include Chinese involvement in Chabahar’s duty free zone, an oil refinery nearby, and possibly a larger role in Chabahar port as well.

Earlier during the inaugeration of Chabahar port project Shaida Abdali, Afghan ambassador to India in 2016 said that "This is a very, very crucial agreement for Afghanistan . The opening of this corridor will help us to fully reach our potential, give us a new tade route. This is a completely new chapter". In May 2016, a MoU was also signed for financing of the planned Chabahar railway. In February 2019, Afghanistan Launches New Export route to India Through Chahabar Port.

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Four years after India and Iran signed an agreement to construct a rail line from Chabahar port to Zahedan, along the border with Afghanistan, the Iranian government has decided to proceed with the construction on its own, citing delays from the Indian side in funding and starting the project.

According to leaked versions of the 18-page “Comprehensive Plan for Cooperation between Iran and China”, being finalised by officials in Tehran and Beijing, the cooperation will extend from investments in infrastructure, manufacturing and upgrading energy and transport facilities, to refurbishing ports, refineries and other installations, and will commit Iranian oil and gas supplies to China during that period.

Chabahar Port is a seaport located in southeastern Iran and serves as Iran's only oceanic port . The developement was proposed by last Shah of Iran during Iranian Revolution in 1973. India and Iran first agreed to plans to further develop Shahid Behesti port in 2003. As of now the port has ten berths. In July 2016 , India began shipping $150 million worth rail tracks to chabahar and first shipment of wheat to Afghanistan was sent through the chabahar port. In 2018, India took over the port's operations.

The government of India had pledged to Afghanistan to spend $2 billion developing supporting infrastucture including Chabahar to Hajigaj Railway. Despite these intentions of India's involvement in the infrastructure development within Iran has been minimal because of the western pressure in applying sanctions. However the work was not initiated due to the involvement of United States in the sanction.

Source- The Hindu