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India signals to join Iran on Chabahar-Zahedan Railway project

Last week, Iran commenced its Chabahar-Zahedan railway project and is willing to complete a section related to it. The project’s partial completion is estimated before the election season in Iran.

India is still not part of this project as there is a projection that the agreement may stir the US. Although the Chabahar port development has been spared from US sanctions.

Indian Embassy in Tehran stated that India is committed for building the Chabahar-Zahedan railway line and is continuously engaged with Iranian officials to take the crucial project forward.

As per Indian officials, the Zahedan railway project has two components, the ‘super-structure’ and the ‘sub-structure’. The sub-structure is earthmoving and prepares the ground for the track while the super-structure includes tracks and rakes. The Iranian govt. will hold responsibility for the sub-structure and the Indian govt. will manage the other one. The portion managed by the Indian govt will require steel import which is currently under US sanctions. This is the prime reason for the project delay.

Various sources reveal about India that it has separated ₹100 crores for the Chabahar project, in this year’s budget. This fund allocation shows India’s desire for alliance in the project. But, it can’t just simply overlook the US in this matter. Also, there are certain stumbling blocks for making materials for the railway lines

The total length of this road is estimated at 628 km. By the end of March 2021, 150 km of this will get completed.

Khademi said about the Chabahar-Zahedan railway line that due to its strategic position, this port could prove as a pathway for Iran’s trade and, will come out as an infrastructural improvement to create more job opportunities and promote economic growth.

For peace, sustainable development, and economic integration, Iran is willing to join hands with India. In fact, during the C0VID-19 crisis also goods trade via the Chabahar port is escalating every day. Iran is ready for even more investment pathways which include, railways, roads, power, petrochemical, fertilizers, etc.

Chabahar port and the under-construction railway line will abridge the distance of India with Europe and CIS(Commonwealth of independent states) countries. Moreover, at the border of Turkmenistan, India could play a vital role in funding and construction of Zahedan to Sarakh route which currently is under control of the Iranian capacities.

In the month of September, PM Narendra Modi has met his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani and external affairs minister S Jaishankar, travelled Tehran in December for the needful.

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