Prime Minister Modi visited Iran recently and signed a host of agreement that has the potential to redefine the bilateral relations between India, Iran and central Asia. The visit comes at a time when Iran is coming out of the entanglement of sanctions imposed by west. Iran and India have the history of cultural and civilisational link and are once again coming close to kick-start the relation that was more or less in a hibernating mode due to sanctions.
The visit of PM Modi to Iran is well timed. The Iranian society which was more or less isolated from outside world due to sanctions has impacted negatively to some extent. India has a potential role in helping Iran to benefit its demography which is young and educated. A host of agreement on cultural exchanges, Collaboration in S &T, Trade, Banking, and Education were signed.
The Visit assumes significance as the operationalisation of Chabahar Port was signed. India extended 500 million credit line for the development of Chabahar port in Iran. Both sides decided to give full play to the strategic location and unique role of Iran and India for promoting multi-modal connectivity within and across the region, hoped that India’s participation in developing Chabahar Port will open a new chapter in bilateral cooperation and regional connectivity, and encourage more maritime links and services between the two countries.
Chabahar port is dubbed as the Chinese version of Gwadar which also has the objective of connecting central Asian and Eurasian economies with Persian Gulf. However Chinese development of port should not be a concern to India has it not got any serious issues either with china or with Pakistan. But the Chabahar port is poised to open new gateway for India’s trading markets to enter in to Afghanistan and central Asia at a much cheaper cost and in less time.
Secondly along with Chabahar the trilateral agreement was signed between India, Iran, and Afghanistan is also a welcome step. The leaders pointed out that the growing multi-cornered cooperation on connectivity will provide Afghanistan an assured and alternative access to regional markets, thus contributing to development, peace and stability in Afghanistan and also the region as a whole.
The economic cooperation between India and Iran is not usual business of give and take. The peace and stability of Iran and Gulf region is inextricably linked to the security and stability of India. As a result India has a very important role in having good relations with Iran at a time when Iran is involved in its own problem with her neighbouring countries. India can play a very important role in quelling the tensions in the region by having good relations with its Old Persian ally.