India in West Asia Iran Relations- Accelerate Work Chabahar
India and Iran agreed to accelerate work on the strategic Chabahar project as external affairs minister S Jaishankar held talks with his Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif on regional and global issues of mutual interest.
“Just concluded a very productive India-Iran Joint Commission Meeting with my co-chair FM Zarif,” Jaishankar tweeted after the meeting. “Reviewed the entire gamut of our cooperation. Agreed on accelerating our Chabahar project,” he said.
“Had a very good conversation on the regional and global picture with the Iranian foreign minister. India and Iran will work together closely on their shared interests,” he tweeted. Zarif tweeted that the two countries held, “excellent discussions on closer bilateral relations & regional & global issues affecting our respective countries.” “Our ties are ancient, historic & unbreakable,” Zarif tweeted
Meanwhile, the second meeting of the follow-up committee for the implementation of the trilateral Chabahar Agreement between Iran, India and Afghanistan at the level of Joint Secretary/Director-General was held earlier.
India has been eyeing to develop Chabahar port and rail links to Afghanistan since 2003 in consultation with Iran. Both countries have constructed part links of connectivity planned between Chabahar to Afghanistan such as the Delaram – Zaranj road completed by the Indian Border Roads Organisation in Afghanistan in 2009.
Through connectivity and linking up with the International North South Transport Corridor proved elusive mainly due to sanctions on Iran. India was hesitant in investing in the project given possible risks including lack of an efficient mechanism for transfer of funds to Iran for the past few years.
India, Afghanistan and Iran signed the Trilateral Agreement on Transport and Transit Corridors (Chabahar Agreement) during the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to Iran on 23 May 2016.
The Agreement envisions trilateral cooperation for providing alternative access to seas to Afghanistan, among other things for Afghanistan’s trade with India.
The Agreement will significantly enhance utilization of Chabahar Port, contribute to economic growth of Afghanistan, and facilitate better regional connectivity, including between India and connections to Afghanistan and Central Asia.
The Agreement will be a strategic bulwark for a greater flow of people and goods among the three countries India, Iran and Afghanistan and allows Indian goods to reach Afghanistan through Iran. It links ports in the western coast of India to the Chabahar port and covers the road and rail links between Chabahar and the Afghan border.