A “milestone” pact on the strategic Chabahar Port in southern Iran which will give India access to Afghanistan and Europe bypassing Pakistan was among the agreements signed by India and Iran which also agreed to cooperate on combating radicalism and terror.
Besides the bilateral pact to develop the Chabahar port for which India will invest $500 million (Rs 3,326.7crore ), a trilateral Agreement on Transport and Transit Corridor was also signed by India, Afghanistan and Iran, which Prime Minister Narendra Modi said could “alter the course of the history of the region.
The bilateral agreements signed by India and Iran after detailed discussions between Modi and President Hassan Rouhani included one on setting up of an aluminium plant and another on laying a railway line to give India access to Afghanistan and Central Asia.
The agreements, aimed at further deepening India-Iran ties in diverse fields, covered areas of economy, trade, transportation, port development, culture, science and academic cooperation.
The two countries noted with deep concern that terrorism and ideologies of violent extremism “continue to infest and ingress” the region and agreed to enhance regular consultations between National Security Councils and others concerned on terrorism, security and related issues such as organised crime, money-laundering, narcotics trade and cyber crime, said a India-Iran Joint Statement issued later.
Modi’s visit, the first by an Indian Prime Minister in 15 years, comes months after the lifting of international sanctions on Iran following Tehran’s historic nuclear deal with the Western powers over its contentious atomic programme.
Earlier, the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had visited the country in April 2001.