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India firms up plan for rail linking Afghanistan with Iran


08:49, November 02, 2011

NEW DELHI, Nov. 1 (Xinhua) -- India is firming up ambitious plans for Afghanistan that include a rail link between Chabahar port in Iran and resource-rich Hajigak region in Afghanistan, reported Indo-Asian News Service Tuesday.

Indian External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna flew to Turkey on Tuesday to participate in the conference on Afghanistan in Istanbul that is being attended by 12 countries, including Afghanistan, the United States, Pakistan and Iran, according to the report.

In his speech at the conference Wednesday, Krishna is expected to highlight India's growing stakes in peace and stability in Afghanistan and its plans to improve connectivity in that country with outside world, including Iran, said the report.

Krishna is also expected to tell the conference about key features of the strategic partnership and outline some plans for improving connectivity and agricultural productivity in Afghanistan, with one of the ambitious ideas to construct a 900-km railway line that will connect the India-built Chabahar port in Iran, with Hajigak region of Afghanistan, which contains one of the world's largest iron ore reserves, said the report.

India already has pledged two billion U.S. dollars for a host of reconstruction projects in Afghanistan.

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