India is planning to construct a 900-km railway line connecting Chabahar port in Iran with the mineral-rich Hajigak region of Afghanistan, the Hindustan Times said on Tuesday.
The successful completion of the project “will increase Indian leverage in Afghanistan and its strategic presence in the region,” the paper said citing informed government sources. “It will also help reduce Kabul’s dependence on Islamabad.”
In addition, “it will open opportunities for Indian companies to explore Afghanistan's mineral wealth, believed to be worth $1-3 trillion.”
Hajigak, located 130 km west of Kabul in Bamiyan province, holds Afghanistan's largest iron ore deposits. Of the 22 companies shortlisted for the bid for these deposits 14 are Indian, the paper reported.