India continues to engage with Iran on Chabahar-Zahedan Railway Project

Chabahar-Zahedan Railway Project
The Union government has reiterated that it remains engaged with Iran on the Chabahar-Zahedan railway project as part of its connectivity initiatives in the region. India is participating in the development of the first phase of the Shahid Beheshti Port in Chabahar in cooperation with Iran. Union Railway Minister informed that the Indian company, India Ports Global Limited, has taken over port operations in 2018 and has since handled 12 lakhs tons of bulk cargo and about 8200 containers. In the recent past, there has been a rise in transit cargo for Afghanistan through Chabahar. India's assistance of 75,000 tons of wheat to Afghanistan of which eight consignments have already been shipped, is being supplied via Chabahar. Afghan exports to India are also routed via Chabahar Port. The Chabahar Port project and Chabahar-Zahedan Railway project were discussed when both Indian Foreign and Defence Ministers visited Tehran. India's problem with Iran has been its insistence to give Chahbahar-Zahedan railway contract to Khatam al-Anbiya, a Revolutionary Guard entity, under US secondary sanctions. During Indian PM's visit to Iran in May 2016, an MoU was signed between Indian Railways' IRCON and Iranian Railways' CDTIC (Construction & Development of Transportation Infrastructures Company) for construction of the Chabahar-Zahedan Railway Project. The two sides remain engaged on this matter as India and Iran continue to cooperate on developmental projects in Iran, including the Chabahar-Zahedan railway line.

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