India and Iran signed an agreement in 2016 to build a railway line from the port of Chabahar to Zahedan along the Afghan border.
Four years later, the Iranian government, noticing the continued delays in funding and launching of the project, excluded India from the project and has now decided to build the project itself.
The development comes as China finalizes a 25-year, $400 billion strategic partnership agreement with Iran.
India feared US sanctions, which prevented it from working despite the agreement in Chabahar. Iran will now start working on the project on its own without India’s financial support and Chabahar will be developed at a light pace.
The opposition Congress party in India has termed the expulsion as a major failure of India and a diplomatic defeat for Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Iranian Minister of Transport Mohammad Islami has inaugurated the railway track project, which will be completed in March 2022.
China already has a railroad to Iran, and now decided to connect Mashhad with Chabahar by rail. This means that China can now use the railway from Kashgar to Chabahar and then further the sea roads.
The United States had exempted the Chabahar-Zahedan railway project from sanctions, yet India continued to waste time and delay in the project, but surprisingly, it took Iran a long time to get rid of India.
It was the only major project in Iran that was being built with India’s participation. India wanted the project to affect Pakistan’s economy but gave in to fear of US sanctions.
China recently finalized a 25-year, $400 billion strategic partnership agreement with Iran, under which Beijing will help build communications, banking, industry, railways, and ports in Iran. In return, Iran will supply cheap oil to China for 25 years.