Iran has dropped India from Chabahar rail project citing delay in funding, it was learned on Tuesday.
According to Indian media, four years ago both the countries signed an agreement to construct a rail line from Chabahar port to Zahedan. The development comes after last week, Iranian Transport and Urban Development Minister Mohammad Eslami inaugurated the track-laying process for the 628 km Chabahar-Zahedan line, which will be extended to Zaranj across the border in Afghanistan.
As per India daily, The Hindu the entire project would be completed by March 2022 without India’s assistance, at a cost of $400 million which will be bear by the Iranian National Development Fund.
Abhishek Manu Singhvi, spokesperson of India’s Congress party, India's main opposition to the current Modi government wrote on Twitter that the development was a 'big loss for India.'
“India dropped from Chahbar Port deal. This is the diplomacy of the Modi Govt that won laurels even without getting the work done, China worked quietly but gave them a better deal. Big loss for India. But you can't ask questions!”
The project was under discussion between the Iranian Railways and the Indian Railways Construction Ltd (IRCON), however, India never began the work citing worries that the project could attract U.S. sanctions.
It is pertinent to mention, that the latest blow to India comes in the backdrop of China finalizing a mammoth $400 billion strategic partnership deal with Iran.