India to build 500 km rail line on southern coast of Iran to Afghanistan

Tehran: India and Iran on Monday inked 12 agreements ranging from a contract to develop the strategic Chahabar port to an initial pact for setting up an aluminium plant along with one to lay a railway line to give India access to Afghanistan and Central Asia.

India’s state-owned IRCON will build a 500-km rail line from Chabahar port on southern coast of Iran to Zahedan at the cost of $1.6 billion as part of the transit corridor to Afghanistan.

Chabhabar Port IranIRCON’s MoU with Construction, Development of Transport and Infrastructure Company (CDTIC) of Iran for building the rail line was among the dozen agreements signed during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s maiden visit to Tehran.

The agreement was signed by IRCON Managing Director Mohan Tiwari and Iran’s Deputy Minister for Railways Pourseyed Aghaei.

The agreements were signed in presence of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Modi, who is the first Indian Prime Minister to visit the Islamic nation in 15 years after Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

State-run NALCO signed a pact to explore possibility of manufacturing aluminium metal by setting up a smelter in a joint venture with an Iranian company. Alternatively, it may look at entering into tolling arrangements with smelters in Iran or any other form of business collaboration including sale of alumina etc.

The most strategic agreement to be signed was by India Ports Global Pvt Ltd with Arya Banader of Iran on the development and operation for 10 years of two terminals and five berths at Chabahar port on Southern coast of the Persian Gulf nation.

The MoU between EXIM Bank and Iran’s Ports and Maritime Organisation (PMO) intends to provide credit of $150 million for Chabahar port.

A Confirmation Statement was signed between EXIM Bank and Central Bank of Iran to confirm the availability of credit up to Rs 3,000 crore for the import of steel rails and implementation of Chabahar port.

The MoU between Export Credit Guarantee Corporation Limited of India and the Export Guarantee Fund of Iran (EGFI) seeks to establish a framework of cooperation in supporting and encouraging foreign trade and foreign investment between India and Iran.

The documents were in the fields of economy, trade, transportation, port development, culture, science and academic cooperation.

The documents included an MoU between the foreign ministries of both countries for dialogue on policy-making and interaction between think-tanks.

Another MoU was signed between School for International Relations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Iran and the Foreign Service Institute (FSI) of India.

Also, an executive protocol was inked between the Ministry of Science, Research and Technology of Iran and India’s Ministry of Science and Technology and an MoU was signed between India’s National Archives and Iran’s National Library.

An executive programme of cultural cooperation between the Ministry of Culture and Iran’s Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance was also signed along with an MoU between Iran’s Islamic Culture and Relations Organization and the Indian Council for Cultural Relations.


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