External Affairs Ministry today said, despite the difficulties posed by the sanctions situation, there has been significant progress on the Chabahar Port project in Iran.
In response to media query, Ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said, a longstanding commitment from 2003 was finally operationalized in 2016 during the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Iran.
He said since then, an Indian company has been operating the Port since 2018 and has steadily scaled up the traffic at the Port. Since December 2018, eighty two vessels have been handled there including 52 in the last twelve months alone. The Port handled 12 lakh tonnes of bulk cargo and 8200 containers. He said, proactive measures are currently underway to increase the usage of Chabahar Port, both for Afghanistan and Central Asia.
Mr Srivastava said IRCON was appointed by India to assess the feasibility of the proposed Chabahar Zahidan railway line project. IRCON was working with CDTIC, an Iranian company under Iran’s Ministry of Railways in that regard. IRCON has completed the site inspection and review of the feasibility report.
He said, detailed discussions were thereafter held on other relevant aspects of the project, which had to take into account the financial challenges that Iran was facing. In December 2019, these issues were reviewed in detail at the 19th India-Iran Joint Commission Meeting in Tehran. The spokesperson said, the Iranian side was to nominate an authorized entity to finalize outstanding technical and financial issues and this is still awaited.
The spokesperson said, there have also been some reports regarding the Farzad-B Gas field negotiations in which ONGC was involved in the discovery stage. Follow-up bilateral cooperation was however impacted by policy changes on the Iranian side. He said in January this year, India was informed that in the immediate future, Iran would develop the field on its own and would like to involve India appropriately at a later stage. He said, this matter remains under discussion.