India, Iran ink Chabahar port MoU

Marsha Scott
February 18, 2018

India and Iran signed agreements Saturday for avoidance of double taxation and implementing an extradition treaty signed in 2008.

Earlier on Saturday, Rouhani met Modi and held delegation-level talks at the Hyderabad House in New Delhi.

"Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran will simplify visa norms for India so that people of India find it convenient to sustain and ameliorate their relationship with the people of Iran", said President Rouhani, while addressing a congregation of Muslims after performing Friday prayers at the historic Makkah Masjid in Hyderabad. "We are sure that participation will be equal from both sides", he said.

Iran has been trying to reach a better bargain with India after crippling economic sanctions against it were eased following its 2015 nuclear pact with six world powers-the US, UK, Russia, France, China, and Germany, according to news reports.

Other issues of mutual interests were implementation of the Joint Plan of Action, expansion of multilateral relations with regards to current developments in Syria, Iraq and Yemen, he said.

Modi and Rouhani also released a joint postage stamp depicting Deendayal Port, Kandla and Shahid Beheshti Terminal, Chabahar, that reflected the enhanced prosperity through greater connectivity.

While South Block mandarins viewed this as a reference to Pakistan-sponsored terrorism directed towards India, Iranian diplomats perceived this as a reference to Saudi Arabia.

Since local gas prices in Iran are about $2.1 per mmBtu, India has asked for a stake in a producing oil field in Iran in addition to Farzad B to improve its average return on investment.

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The Prime Minister said the two countries wanted to see Afghanistan safe and prosper.

India is trying to develop Chabahar as a way to gain access to the markets of central Asia as well as Afghanistan.

Mr. Rouhani said he and Mr. Modi had very good discussions on stepping up cooperation in a number of key areas including oil and gas as well as on crucial connectivity projects like development of the Chabahar port.

On the timelines, he said, "We agreed that next week the Indian team will come to Tehran for finalising some of the points".

"The two Leaders agreed on the deepening trade and investment cooperation between the two countries".

On his turn, Rouhani said, "We are determined to combat terrorism and extremism".

The Iranian leader used the occasion to underscore the United States control over his country.

Iran and India believe that regional crisis and disputes should be resolved through political means and all should spare no efforts to put an end to exiting conflicts, President Rouhani said.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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