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Iran explains India's absence from Chabahar railway project

Transport Materials 22 July 2020 14:59
Iran explains India's absence from Chabahar railway project

TEHRAN, Iran,July 22

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Deputy head of Construction and Development of Transportation Infrastructure Company of Iran, Abbas Khatibi, has discussed the issue of India's absense from the Chabahar-Zahedan railway project in an interview with Trend.

"Construction of mega projects such as Chabahar – Zahedan railway would naturally require sources beyond public budget, therefore we have negotiated with India in 2016 and 2017 and they have practically agreed to invest in construction of the railway project so that Iran could use the investment while India would also provide part of project equipment," he said.

"India has also expressed desire to work as a contractor on rail infrastructure but we already had a contractor - Khatam al-Anbiya Construction Headquarters, so we told the Indian side to supply rail, railroad switches and related equipment instead," he added.

"Eventually India's Ircon company has signed an MoU with Iran, however despite our followings, India did not make any effective attempts to move the matter forward, and the agreement deadline has passed, and then got extended for four more months. Iran tried to resolve the matter with the Indian side, but no agreements were reached," Khatibi said.

"We realized that India did not want to be partially financing the project, and wanted to participate in construction instead," said the official.

"It's natural that Iran's construction capacity in railway industry was sufficient on its own, therefore India's suggestion to join the construction was not welcomed. I think they did not want to finance the project in the first place either," he said.

"Afterwards, the Ministry of Road and Urban Development asked the National Development Fund to invest in the railway project , the fund agreed to assign €300 million worth of investment to the project, to connect the Chabahar port to railway," said Khatibi.

He said India got sidelined due to its own actions, as Iran had nothing to do with it.

"Iran did not eliminate India from the project. We were determined to receive India's investment for the project," he said.

According to Iranian and Indian media outlets, the two sides had signed an MoU to work together on the Chabahar-Zahedan railway link project. However, a formal agreement has not come through as India objected to certain entities that Tehran wanted to be a part of the construction project.

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