Iran, Pakistan agree to boost cooperation on security, trade
Iran and Pakistan have mutually agreed to boost bilateral cooperation on regional security and trade.
Decision in this regard was taken by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif during intensive talks in Islamabad.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is on official state visit to Pakistan and is the first visit by an Iranian head of state in 14 years.
- Both countries have agreed to fight extremist and terrorist groups in their countries’ shared border.
- They also announced the opening of two new crossing points to encourage trade long hampered by sanctions.
- The opening will contribute to economic integration in the region and also promote tourism and people to people contacts.
- Iran discussed issues related to energy and export of gas or electricity to Pakistan as well as establishing connectivity between Pakistan’s Gawadar and Iran’s Chabahar seaports.
- Pakistan predominantly being a Sunni Muslim nation had traditionally close economic and political ties with the Saudi Arabia (Sunni Muslim nation).
- However in recent times, it is trying to maintain a delicate balance promoting ties with Iran as the West Asia region is indulged in sectarian rift especially between Iran (Shia Muslim nation) and Saudi Arabia
- Earlier Pakistan (having the largest and only nuclear-armed army in the Muslim world) had refused a Saudi Arabia to join its anti-Houthi military coalition (in Yemen) as it would be against Iran.
- The move had angered Saudi Arabia as Pakistan had vowed to stand ready to defend any (including sectarian) aggression against Saudi Arabia.