India to finalize locomotive deal with Iran soon: Official

New Delhi, Jan 12, IRNA - A senior official in charge of railway affairs in India said here Friday that the deal signed today on providing locomotives and cargo wagons to Iran will be finalized soon.

Talking to IRNA in an exclusive interview here, Chairman and Managing Director of the state-owned RITES Bhawan railway company Rajiv Mehrotra said that the two countries signed a memorandum of understanding for the long-term supply of locomotives to Iran by India.

He added that the MoU will facilitate the future cooperation between the two countries in the railway sector. 'Details of the memorandum will be finalized within the next two weeks.'

'Although the RITES has already worked with Iranian railways on other projects in the past, this MoU was a very important agreement for India.'

On the significance of Chabahar port for India, Mehrotra reiterated that these locomotives will help swift movement of goods as well as passengers in Iran.

'They will also be used in Zahedan to Chabahar railway, which would help accelerate the port's development. This MOU with Iran and the supply of locomotives will also contribute to India's wider purpose of connecting with Central Asia and ultimately Europe through the Chabahar port in Iran,' he said.

Iran's Minister of Roads and Urban Development Abbas Akhundi arrived in New Delhi on Wednesday for a three-day stay to discuss Chabahar port development project as well as railway cooperation with Indian officials.

India sees Iran’s Chabahar Port project as a golden opportunity for New Delhi to enhance its regional role and cooperation.

India has reiterated its commitment to complete and operationalise the port at the earliest that would contribute to bilateral and regional trade and economic development and also provide alternate access to landlocked Afghanistan to regional and global markets.

President Hassan Rouhani opened the first phase of Shahid Beheshti Port in the southeastern city of Chabahar on Dec. 3, 2017 during a ceremony attended by 60 foreign guests from 17 countries.

As Iran's only oceans port and thanks to its very sensitive geopolitical position, Chabahar plays a vital role in connecting India to Afghanistan, Central Asia and Europe.

India has committed $500 million to building two berths at Chabahar to process trade and develop an economic zone around them, as well as $1.6 billion for a 650-km rail link from Chabahar to Zahedan and into Afghanistan. Iran is completing the current construction at Chabahar at a cost of $340 million.

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