Iran has offered India bigger role in strategic port, says envoy

Published July 18, 2015
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has asked India to invest in infrastructure projects worth $8 billion. — AP
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has asked India to invest in infrastructure projects worth $8 billion. — AP

NEW DELHI: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has asked India to invest in infrastructure projects worth $8 billion, including an expanded role in developing a strategic port that will open up access to Central Asia, Iran’s envoy to New Delhi said on Friday.

The port of Chabahar in southeast Iran is central to India’s efforts to circumvent arch-rival Pakistan and open up a route to landlocked Afghanistan where it has developed close security ties and economic interests.

Mr Rouhani suggested the larger role for India during a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of a summit in Russia days before the historic nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, Iran’s ambassador to India said in an interview.

“The potential between Iran and India is great but we were just facing such a wall of sanctions, wall of American pressure,” Ambassador Gholamreza Ansari said.

He said that with sanctions likely to be lifted soon, it was a “golden time” for India to seize investment opportunities because of the two countries’ close trade ties and shared interest in improving Central Asian transport links.

“Connectivity is the main policy of Modi that coincides with Iran’s government policy,” Mr Ansari said. “We have offered them, in connectivity, $8bn of projects.”


‘Offer involves connectivity projects worth $8bn’


Mr Modi’s meeting with Mr Rouhani was part of a tour of Central Asia focused on increasing India’s role in the region. It was not immediately clear how the Indian premier responded to Mr Rouhani’s offer.

India’s foreign ministry did not respond to a request for comment.

Iran and six world powers reached a nuclear deal on Tuesday, clearing the way for an easing of sanctions on Tehran.

India and Iran agreed in 2003 to develop Chabahar on the Gulf of Oman, near Iran’s border with Pakistan, but the venture has moved slowly because of the sanctions over Iran’s nuclear programme.

The two countries maintained a close relationship despite the US-led trade restrictions that halved their oil trade to 220,000 barrels per day last year.

In May, India’s Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari and his Iranian counterpart, Abbas Ahmad Akhoundi, signed an $85 million deal for India to lease two existing berths at the port and use them as multi-purpose cargo terminals.

Under the new proposal India could help build second and third terminals at the port, as well as railway connections into the rest of Iran, Mr Ansari said.

India has moved slowly on opportunities in Iran in the past, including the giant Farzad B gas field. Mr Ansari said India was the “first priority” to develop Farzad B, but urged New Delhi to move fast: “If they drag their feet, the market will not wait.”

Published in Dawn, July 18th, 2015

On a mobile phone? Get the Dawn Mobile App: Apple Store | Google Play

Opinion

Editorial

Untruths and politics
01 Oct, 2022

Untruths and politics

TIME has made it clear that ‘Cablegate’ was little more than a cunning ploy. With calculated shrewdness, former...
Farmers’ protest
01 Oct, 2022

Farmers’ protest

SEVERAL hundred farmers have converged on Islamabad for the last three days to protest against the soaring costs of...
Dasht-i-Barchi bombing
01 Oct, 2022

Dasht-i-Barchi bombing

ON Friday morning, Kabul’s Dasht-i-Barchi neighbourhood was rocked by a terrorist attack targeting an educational...
Avenfield relief
Updated 30 Sep, 2022

Avenfield relief

Accountability cannot continue to be treated like a revolving door in which politicians can be shoved in or pulled out on a whim.
Dar’s plans
Updated 30 Sep, 2022

Dar’s plans

For starters, the country doesn’t have spare dollars to burn.
Another targeted attack
30 Sep, 2022

Another targeted attack

WEDNESDAY’S deadly attack on three Chinese-origin individuals in Karachi’s Saddar area demonstrates the threat...