After dithering for over one year to complete its formalities over securing
a loan from India for the Chabahar Port project, Tehran is to send an
application to secure the first tranche of loan of 150 million dollar from EXIM
Bank of India.
With the Port project remaining in
drawing board stage for over four years, US President Donald Trump's hard
hitting speech against Iran at United Nations a few days ago indicating
resumption of international sanctions has further complicated the situation.
International bankers are unwilling to fund the project in view of the hostile
stand of United States.
Shipping Minister Nitin Gakari is however confident that Iran will be
sending the applications for the loan in a few days. Sanctioning of the loan by
the Exim bank of India is required to activate the contract between the two
countries on the port project.
Addressing a conference in the national capital, Mr Gadkari said he is
still optimistic that the Port project will take off by the end of 2018.
On laying the railway link between the Chabhar port and Zaheden on the Afghan
border, the shipping minister said if the railway ministry's Ircon has
problems, the shipping ministry's Indian Port Rail connectivity Limited would
undertake the work.
Iran is important for New Delhi not just from strategic perspective but
also on Logistics considerations the minister said adding using Chabahar port
Indian goods could be transported to Russia and then on to Europe.
The government proposed to hold business discussions with Logistics firms in
India, Iran, and Afghanistan besides global companies to invest in the free
trade zone to be set up near the Chabahar port.
The project has been on the drawing board stage for over four years. The
project includes refurbishing one of the berths at one of the terminals at
Chabahar port and reconstructing a 600 meter long container handling facility.
The bilateral agreement with Iran includes operation of the terminal
jointly by India Port Global, a joint venture company between JNPT Nhava sheva
and Kandla Port in partnership with Iran's Aria Banader.
The port will provide connectivity to India to reach Afghanistan bypassing
Pakistan besides providing a corridor to Russia and Europe.