An Indian newspaper says Iran has decided to remove India from a partnership on a key railway project that is being constructed southeast of Iran along the border with Pakistan and Afghanistan.
The Hindu said in a Tuesday report that Iran is now going on with the construction of the Chabahar-Zahedan railway on its own, despite the fact that the project was supposed to benefit from India’s supply of investment and equipment.
The report said recurrent delays by India in bringing in the required investment and the equipment needed to build the rail line finally caused Iran to drop the partnership.
Iran began track-laying for the 610-kilometer railway last week after authorities said they have the finances required to finish the project until the end of the current fiscal year in Iran in March 2021.
Iran has tapped into its sovereign wealth fund to draw more than 300 million euros for the project, according to statements by Iranian officials in the past.
India has been a major contributor to the plans to develop Chabahar, Iran’s sole ocean port on the Sea of Oman and where India seeks to build terminals and port installations to ease its trade access to Afghanistan and other landlocked countries in the Central Asia region.
New Delhi has been hesitant to become actively involved in the Chabahar-Zahedan project mainly because of the threat of the American sanctions.
The report by Hindu reiterated that India has obtained the required waivers from the US sanctions to contribute to the construction of the rail line.
However, it said that Indian Railways Construction Ltd (IRCON) has failed to find equipment suppliers and partners who are not fearful of being targeted by US sanctions four years after it signed an agreement with Iran to become involved in the project.