‘Americans can’t tell us what to do on Chabahar’: India envoy
India has told the US that it “cannot tell us what to do” regarding the development of Chabahar port in Iran, India’s ambassador to Tehran, Gaddam Dharmendra, has said.
New Delhi is working to develop the port and heavy equipment has been ordered for the facility from countries such as Italy, Finland, Germany and China, Dharmendra was quoted as saying in an interview with Tehran Times.
The envoy referred to “pressures” and said India is the only country which continues to “have a rupee-rial trade arrangement where we are financing bilateral trade between our countries”.
“The fact [is] that we are working in Chabahar, we are buying equipment for Chabahar, we are preparing for Chabahar, we have told the Americans they cannot tell us what to do on Chabahar,” he said.
The interview by Tehran Times was done on July 14, though a video with Dharmendra’s remarks emerged only on Friday.
Chabahar port is being developed under a tripartite agreement signed by India, Afghanistan and Iran and has been granted a waiver from US sanctions. It was recently in the news when some reports suggested Iran had excluded India from a project to develop a rail link between Chabahar port and Zahedan on the border with Afghanistan.
The external affairs ministry said last week that technical and financial issues yet to be finalised by Iran were holding up New Delhi’s participation in the railway project. Saeed Rasouli, the deputy minister for roads and head of Iran Railways, invited the Indian envoy for a meeting on July 20 to review cooperation on the Chabahar-Zahedan rail link. Rasouli said during the meeting that “vested interests were behind recent reports that Iran [had] excluded India” from the project.
Dharmendra also told Tehran Times that between December 2018 and December 2019, Chabahar port had handled 6,000 tonnes of containers and more than a million tonnes of bulk cargo, including rice, sugar and wheat meant for Iran and Afghanistan.
“Within one year, traffic has increased hugely, but it’s a new port, it takes time to develop,” he said.