Iran has sought Indian investments for the expansion of Chabahar port, leaving New Delhi in a tough spot as the demand comes in the wake of sanctions against Iran for their nuclear programme.
The expansion of Chabahar port and connecting it to the Zaranj-Delaram Highway in Afghanistan is at the heart of India’s strategy of getting access to Afghanistan, and to other Central Asian countries.
Though India has been stressing on accelerating the efforts to “fully realise the potential of the port as well as the associated railway lines”, Tehran’s plea for help comes in the context of the sanctions against them for their nuclear programme.
Channelling fresh Indian investments to Iran will not be appetising to many nations, especially the United States.
Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Mohammad Ali Fathollahi, who is India, held discussions with the Foreign Secretary and other Indian officials on the issue.
He appreciated the Indian position on sanctions against Iran, and maintained that the US has been imposing sanctions on Iran for the past 30 years on some context or the other.
“But sanctions don’t have any use,” the minister said.
According to sources, Tehran has sought Indian investments for the expansion of the port capacity and development in terms of connectivity. The port now has a capacity to handle 2.5 million cargos a year and Iran wants to increase it to 12.5 million per year.
Fathollahi sidestepped a question on the Wikileaks, which linked Pakistan spy agency ISI with the attack on Indian mission in Kabul. “We are suspicious of the timing of this. And none of them is a new issue,” he said.