India-Iran Ink 9 Agreements, Focus On Chabahar Port: Balance Game by PM Modi

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Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani was cordially welcomed at the Rashtrapati Bhavan by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Ram Nath Kovind yesterday on the last of his three-day visit of India. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his statement, said that India-Iran ties have strengthened in Mr Rouhani’s regime. “We want to increase connectivity and trade. We want to strengthen our strong cultural ties. Landlocked Afghanistan has got a golden gateway in Chabahar We will support the rail link,” Prime Minister Modi said.

India and Iran on Saturday signed nine agreements following substantive and very productive talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and visiting Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, with a greater focus on strategically-important Chabahar Port. The points of the agreements include double taxation avoidance, easing visa rules, ratifying extradition treaty, agricultural cooperation, port lease, cooperation on medical sector, and others. Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj also met with visiting Iranian President yesterday. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu came to India on January. Within a month, Prime Minister Modi visited the Palestinian territories as India’s first Prime Minister to keep the balance in the Arab world. Since the Arab-Israel War, Tehran, Capital of Iran, has been a fierce enemy of Tel Aviv. So, experts believe that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s visit to India and signing of nine agreements between Delhi and Tehran is a reflection of that balance game only. The two countries signed a lease yesterday for the Shahid Beheshti Port at Chabahar located in southeastern Iran, on the Gulf of Oman. India has already routed a consignment of 1.1 million tonnes of wheat to Afghanistan through Chabahar port. The first phase of the Chabahar port was inaugurated last December, opening a transit route between India, Iran and Afghanistan bypassing Pakistan. The port on the Makran coast of Sistan and Baluchistan Province is easily accessible from India’s western coast and is increasingly seen by the experts as a counter to Pakistan’s Gwadar Port, which is being developed with Chinese investment and is located at distance of around 80 km from Chabahar.

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