Indo-Iranian relations are of the utmost importance ,as important as those with ant other major nation.IT is so strat. located,the largest Shiite nation in the world,counter to Sunni Saudi Arabia,and possesses oil,etc. ,one of our key suppliers of energy. Apart from being a neighbour of Pak ,adjoining Baluchistan (trying to break free from Pak) and Aghanistan,Iran is also being wooed massively by the Chinese. It has been the US which has time and again tried to downgrade Indo-Relations in support of Pak mainly,but India cannot allow Iran to fall into China's lap.Ck this out:
For China’s global ambitions, ‘Iran is at the centre of everything’
Thomas Erdbrink NEYSHABUR, JULY 26, 2017 00:00 IST
UPDATED: JULY 26, 2017 03:39 IST
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Drivers of change:Chinese entrepreneur Zuao Ru Lin, centre, at one of his plants, which recycles paper, in Neyshabur, Iran.NYT
The west Asian country, historically a crossroads, is strategically crucial to Beijing’s plans to increase its footprint across the world using the ‘One Belt, One Road’ project
When Zuao Ru Lin, a Beijing entrepreneur, first heard about business opportunities in eastern Iran, he was sceptical. But then he bought a map and began to envision the region without any borders, as one enormous market.
“Many countries are close by, even Europe,” Mr. Lin, 49, said while driving his white BMW over the highway connecting Tehran to the eastern Iranian city of Mashhad recently. “Iran is at the centre of everything.”
For millennia, Iran has prospered as a trading hub linking East and West. Now, that role is set to expand in coming years as China unspools its ‘One Belt, One Road’ project, which promises more than $1 trillion in infrastructure investment — bridges, rails, ports and energy — in over 60 countries across Europe, Asia and Africa.
Iran, historically a crossroads, is strategically at the centre of those plans.
Like pieces of a sprawling geopolitical puzzle, components of China’s infrastructure network are being put in place. In eastern Iran, Chinese workers are busily modernising one of the country’s major rail routes, standardising gauge sizes, improving the track bed and rebuilding bridges, with the ultimate goal of connecting Tehran to Turkmenistan and Afghanistan.
Much the same is happening in western Iran, where railroad crews are working to link the capital to Turkey and, eventually, to Europe. Other rail projects will connect Tehran and Mashhad with deepwater ports in the country’s south.
Once dependent on Beijing during the years of international isolation imposed by the West for its nuclear program, Iran is now critical to China’s ability to realise its grandiose ambitions. Other routes to Western markets are longer and lead through Russia, potentially a competitor of China.
“It is not as if their project is cancelled if we don’t participate,” said Asghar Fakhrieh-Kashan, Iranian deputy Minister of Roads and Urban Development. “But if they want to save time and money, they will choose the shortest route.”
He added with a smile: “There are also political advantages to Iran, compared to Russia. They are highly interested in working with us.”
Biggest trading partner
Others worry that with the large-scale Chinese investment and China’s growing presence in the Iranian economy, Tehran will become more dependent than ever on China, already its biggest trading partner.
China is also an important market for Iranian oil, and because of remaining unilateral U.S. sanctions that intimidate global banks, it is the only source of the large amounts of capital Iran needs to finance critical infrastructure projects. But that, apparently, is a risk the leadership is prepared to take.
“China is dominating Iran,” said Mehdi Taghavi, an economics professor at Allameh Tabataba’i University in Tehran, adding that the “Iranian authorities do not see any drawbacks to being dependent on China. Together, we are moving ahead.” It is not just roads and rail lines that Iran is getting from China. Iran is also becoming an increasingly popular destination for Chinese entrepreneurs like Mr. Lin.
A visionary businessman
With a few words of Persian, as well as low-interest loans and tax breaks from the Chinese and Iranian governments, he has built a small empire since moving to Iran in 2002. His eight factories make a wide variety of goods that find markets in Iran and in neighbouring countries.
“You can say that I was even more visionary than some of our politicians,” Mr. Lin said with a laugh. Since 2013, when the ‘One Belt, One Road’ plan was started, he has had dozens of visitors from China and multiple meetings with the Chinese ambassador in Tehran. “I was a pioneer, and they want to hear my experiences,” he said. Mr. Lin established his factories along what will be a key part of the trade route — a 575-mile electrified rail line linking Tehran and Mashhad, financed with a $1.6 billion loan from China.
When completed and attached to the wider network, the new line will enable Mr. Lin to export his goods as far as northern Europe, Poland and Russia, at much less cost than today.
When finished, the proposed rail link will stretch nearly 2,000 miles, from Urumqi, the capital of China’s western region of Xinjiang, to Tehran. If all goes according to plan, it will connect Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, China’s state-owned paper, China Daily, wrote. Track sizes need to be adjusted and new connections made, as well as upgrades to the newest trains.
In a 2016 test, China and Iran drove a train from the port of Shanghai in eastern China to Tehran in just 12 days, a journey that takes 30 days by sea. In Iran, they used the existing track between Tehran and Mashhad, powered by a slower diesel-powered train. When the new line is opened in 2021, it is expected to accommodate electric trains at speeds up to 125 mph.
Mr. Fakhrieh-Kashan, an English speaker who oversees negotiation of most of the larger international state business deals, said the Chinese initiative would do much more than just provide a channel for transporting goods.
“Think infrastructure, city planning, cultural exchanges, commercial agreements, investments and tourism,” he said. “You can pick any project, they are all under this umbrella.”NYT