MEA says India has engaged with Iran on Chabahar-Zahedan railway project
The government on Wednesday said it remained engaged with Iran on the modalities of implementing the Chabahar-Zahedan railway project as well as other developmental initiatives in the Gulf nation.
Responding to a question in Lok Sabha, Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan also referred to an agreement signed between India and Iran on the project during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to that country in 2016.
"India and Iran remain engaged on the modalities of implementation of Chabahar-Zahedan railway project, and other development projects in Iran," the minister said.
"During the visit of the Prime Minister to Iran in May 2016, an MoU was signed between Indian Railways' IRCON and Iranian Railways' CDTIC (Construction & Development of Transportation Infrastructures Company) for construction of the Chabahar-Zahedan Railway project," he added.
In the Union Budget for 2021-22, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has made an allocation of ₹100 crore for the development of the Chabahar Port.
Located in the Sistan-Balochistan province on the energy-rich Iran's southern coast, the Chabahar port is being developed by India, Iran and Afghanistan to boost trade ties.
India on Sunday handed over two 140-tonne mobile harbour cranes to the authorities of the Chabahar Port in Iran as both sides reviewed their overall cooperation in developing the transit hub.
To a separate question, Muraleedharan said India has consistently called upon Sri Lanka to fulfil its commitments on addressing the issues related to protecting the interest of Tamils in that country.
He said it reiterated during India-Sri Lanka virtual bilateral summit between the two prime ministers in September last.
"The external affairs minister during his visit in January conveyed that it was in Sri Lanka's own interest that the expectations of the Tamil people for equality, justice, peace and dignity within a united Sri Lanka were fulfilled," he said.
"That applied equally to the commitments made by the Sri Lankan government on meaningful devolution; including the 13th Amendment to the Constitution," he said.
Muraleedharan said India continues to remain engaged with Colombo at all levels in its efforts to build a future that accommodates the aspirations of all sections of society, including the Tamil community "for a life of equality, justice, peace and dignity in a united Sri Lanka".