Citing a report by The Hindu on how Iran was going ahead with the Chabahar project without India, the Congress party lashed out at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government with allegations of India’s global strategy being “in tatters”.
On Wednesday, 15 July, former president of the Congress party Rahul Gandhi took to Twitter to point out that the Government of India has no idea what to do.
“India’s global strategy is in tatters. We are losing power and respect everywhere, and GOI has no idea what to do.”Rahul Gandhi
On Tuesday, 14 July, senior Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi tweeted that getting dropped from the project was a “big loss” for India.
“India dropped from Chabahar Port deal. This is the diplomacy of the Modi government that won laurels even without getting the work done, China worked quietly but gave them a better deal. Big loss for India. But you can’t ask questions!”
Why Has India Been Dropped?
According to the report by The Hindu, Iranian Transport and Urban Development Minister Mohammad Eslami inaugurated the track-laying process for the Chabahar-Zahedan line, which will extend for approximately 628 kilometres uptill Zaranj in Afghanistan.
The officials reportedly told The Hindu that the Iranian railways will not be taking India’s assistance owing to delays from India in providing the funds, and will use nearly $400 million from the Iranian National Development Fund. The project is slated to be completed by March 2022.
Notably, China has recently finalised a 25-year-long strategic partnership deal, worth $400 billion, with Iran.
India had signed the deal on the Chabahar port, in May 2016, reported Scroll. The port lies in the free-trade zone. India, as reported by Scroll, had invested $500 million in the project.
According to The Hindu, the railway project was meant to be a component of India’s trilateral agreement with Iran and Afghanistan, and it was being done in order to create an alternate trade route to Afghanistan and Central Asia. The Indian Railways Construction Ltd (IRCON) “had promised to provide all services, superstructure work and financing for the project”. The expected financing was computed at around $1.6 billion.
(With inputs from The Hindu and Scroll)