Iran delays release of $235M Indian funds for Chabahar project

Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 6

By Emil Ilgar – Trend:

Indian government has set aside a $235 million line of credit for development of Iran’s Chabahar Port since 2015, but is unable to release the first tranche of $150 million due to Iran’s delay to submit a proposal for release of the fund despite several reminders, Indian officials said Feb. 6.

Iran and India signed a deal in May 2015 on development of the Chabahar Port, aimed at opening of a transit route to Afghanistan and Central Asia for Indian goods and products, avoiding the land route through Pakistan.

A year after that, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that his country would invest $500 million to develop the project.

“The funds cannot be released without paperwork and this has not yet reached the Indian government. Even reminders from EXIM Bank to Iran have not helped,” a person familiar with the matter told the Indian Economic Times.

“There are apparently no reasons behind Iran’s delay in submitting the proposal for the release of loan,” the person alleged.

As per the memorandum of understanding (MoU), signed during the visit of Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari to Tehran in May 2015, EXIM Bank is to extend a $150 million line of credit for development of the port complex.

Another $85 million was allotted later following a contract between the two sides for supply of equipment to develop two berths in the port complex, persons familiar with the development told Economic Times.

They said India had offered to release the first portion of the line of credit within four months of the Iranian proposal on the port expansion and development plan, but the proposal has yet to come.

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