India-International Relations Current Affairs

India, Iran and Afghanistan sign historic land transit trade agreement

India, Iran and Afghanistan sign historic three-way land transit agreement on Iran’s strategic southern port of Chabahar.

It was signed by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani in Teheran, Iran.

Under the agreement, India will invest up to 500 million dollars in a deal to develop a strategic port in Iran.

Chabahar port is strategically located in the Sistan-Balochistan Province on the energy-rich Persian Gulf nation’s southern coast. It lies outside the Persian Gulf and is easily accessed from India’s western coast, bypassing Pakistan.

Comment

  • The agreement on the establishment of a Trilateral Transport and Transit Corridor has potential to alter the course of history of this region.
  • It can spur unhindered flow of commerce throughout the region and its economic fruits will expand trade, attract investment, build infrastructure, develop industry and create jobs.
  • India will get sea-land access route to Afghanistan bypassing Pakistan which will open opportunities for Indian companies to explore Afghanistan’s mineral wealth.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Iran

It was the first by an Indian PM to Iran in 15 years and comes months after international sanctions on Iran were lifted following its historic nuclear deal with the P5+1 nations over its contentious atomic programme. Earlier, then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had visited Iran in April 2001.

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India, Iran sign 12 bilateral agreements in various areas

India and Iran signed 12 Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) and Agreements in various areas including building and operating the Chabahar port by India.

The other agreements include cooperation in science and technology, culture, library sciences, and cooperation between the EXIM banks of both the countries.

These agreements were signed after the delegation level talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

Some of signed Agreements are

  • Bilateral contract on Chabahar Port for port development and operations: It was signed between IPGPL (India Ports Global Private Limited) and Arya Banader of Iran.
  • It envisages development and operation of two terminals and 5 berths with cargo handling (general and multipurpose) capacities for 10 years.
  • MoU between EXIM Bank and Iran’s Ports and Maritime Organization (PMO): It is intended for the purpose of credit of USD 150 million for Chabahar port.
  • Confirmation Statement between EXIM Bank and Central Bank of Iran (CBI): It confirms availability of credit up to 3000 crore rupees for the import of steel rails and implementation of Chabahar port.
  • MoU between IRCON and CDTIC: It will enable IRCON to provide requisite services for the construction of Chabahar-Zahedan railway line. This line forms part of transit and transportation corridor in trilateral agreement between India, Iran and Afghanistan.
  • MoU on India-Iran Cultural Exchange Programme (CEP): It seeks to extend the CEP for the period 2016-2019. It covers areas of culture and art TV, radio, mass media and cinema.
  • MoU on Policy Dialogue between Governments and Interaction between Think Tanks: It seeks to create a Joint Secretary/Director General policy dialogue. It also seeks to encourage new institutional mechanisms between think tanks on both sides.
  • MoU between Foreign Service Institute, MEA and School of International Relations, Iran’s MoFA: It intends to enhance cooperation for training of diplomats and exchange of eminent speakers.
  • Implementation Protocol on Cooperation in the Fields of Science and Technology: It deals with cooperation in pursuant to the 2003 MoU and covers areas like exchange of experiences, seminars, conferences etc.

Besides, leaders of both countries also issued a joint statement mentioning that the Chabahar port is a symbol of synergy between both the nations. The port can serve as a point of connectivity to different countries and economic relations between India and Iran can further be expanded through the project. Highlighted the need of both the nations to work together to bring peace and stability in the region.

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