Tehran seeks to have long-term cooperation with India: Iranian Foreign Minister

Islamabad: India has signed a cooperation deal with Iran to develop and operate the Iranian port of Chabahar, which India envisions as a strategic trade route to landlocked Central Asian republics.

According to official sources of India, the deal has opened new avenues for trade linkages. The deal was signed Monday in Iran’s Chabahar town by India’s Shipping Minister, Sarbananda Sonawal and Iran’s urban development minister Mehrdad Bazrpash.

Speaking after signing the deal, Sonawal said “Chabahar Port’s significance transcends its role as a mere conduit between India and Iran. it serves as a vital trade artery connecting India with Afghanistan and Central Asian countries,”.

The agreement gives India 10-year access to use the port.

In his remarks Iranian minister Bazrpash said “We are pleased with this agreement, and we have full trust in India,” said.

Chabahar port is India’s first major overseas port venture and for New Delhi, it is an important part of its strategy to improve connectivity with resource-rich Central Asian republics and Afghanistan, access to which has been hampered due to the decades long rivalry between India and Pakistan.

Expressing optimism on the India-Iran deal, Foreign minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar told reporters on Monday “It will clear the pathway for bigger investments to be made in the port,”.

“Islamic Republic of Iran considers India a reliable partner, the Iranian foreign minister said that Tehran seeks to have long-term cooperation with India”

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian while meeting with Sarbananda Sonowal, the Indian Cabinet Minister of Ports, Shipping and Waterways in Tehran on Monday.

Tehran seeks to have long term cooperation with India says Iranian Foreign Minister NSN Asia
Tehran seeks to have long term cooperation with India says Iranian Foreign Minister, NSN Asia

“Our approach to relations with India is strategic and we are ready to further expand our cooperation with India in bilateral and multilateral capacities and within the framework of BRICS and Shanghai Cooperation Organisation,” Amir-Abdollahian stated.

Negating the US warning “potential risk of sanctions” on deal, Jaishankar stated “the Chabahar port would benefit the entire region and a narrow view should not be taken of it”.

India will invest $120 million in infrastructure development and extend a $250 million line of credit to Iran for the development purpose.

Chabahar port of Iran 2024
Chabahar port of Iran 2024

Some experts view the Chabahar port, located less than 100 kilometers from Gwadar, as a counter to China’s development of the Gwadar port developed in Pakistan under CPEC.

Also, Gwadar port is flagship project of China’s Belt and Road Initiative investments in ports and infrastructure which aims to expand maritime connectivity of China with Arabia Sea.

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