UPSC CSE Mains Syllabus: GS-2-  Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

In news:

Recent reports that Iran’s Transport and Urban Development Minister had launched the track laying programme for the 628 km long rail link between Chabahar and Zahidan last week sparked concerns that India was being excluded from the project. Iran has since clarified that it is not the case and India could join the project at a later stage. This keeps the door open for Ircon International Limited (IRCON) which has been associated with the project even as India continues with the development of Chabahar port.

Chabahar port on Iran’s Makran coast, just 1,000 km from Kandla, is well situated but road and rail links from Chabahar to Zahidan and then 200 km further on to Zaranj in Afghanistan, need to be built. With Iran under sanctions during the Ahmadinejad years (2005-13), there was little progress.

Moving forward:

Progressive efforts by India:

IRCON had prepared engineering studies estimating that the 800 km long railway project would need an outlay of $1.6 billion.

Providing connectivity for Afghanistan through Iran in order to lessen its dependence on Karachi port has enjoyed support in Delhi, Kabul and Tehran since 2003.

Hence, India concentrated on the 220 km road to connect Zaranj to Delaram on the Herat highway. This was completed in 2008 at a cost of $150 million.

In addition to $85 million of capital investment, India also committed to provide a line of credit of $150 million for port container tracks. Phase I was declared operational in 2018 and India’s wheat shipments to Afghanistan have been using this route.

Rail-track project:

US Sanctions and waiver for India:

Iran has ambitious plans to extend the railway line from Zahidan to Mashad (about 1,000 km) and then another 150 km onwards to Sarakhs on the border with Turkmenistan. Another plan is to link it with the International North-South Transport Corridor towards Bandar Anzali on the Caspian Sea.

Iran’s difficulties:

Not all is well with China:

Shared values – India and Iran:

Source:”The Hindu”.


Due to various reasons India has not been able to fulfil its projects in Iran. Has this led to a new low in India – Iran relationship? Discuss.