Prime Minister Narendra Modi concluded his two days visit to Iran on 24th May 2016 with the signing of Chabahar port being the highlight of the tour. It was after 15 years an Indian prime minister visited Iran. The Chabahar deal was signed between India, Iran and Afghanistan as a trilateral treaty. This will give India access to central Asia bypassing Pakistan. The deal is also seen as a strategic importance for all the parties. Iran being bestowed with deep oil reserves and minerals while India bringing in brilliant mind and also an investment in the form of FDI make word ‘strategic’ of utmost importance. It will also make India carry on the trade through zero-conflict route. Investment of about 500 Million (USD) is expected to arrive in Iran which will make India one of the largest provider of foreign funds in the form of direct investments.

A total of 12 agreements were signed between the two countries in the presence of Narendra Modi and Iranian president Rouhani, which included the signing of a bilateral contract on Chabahar Port for port development and operations between India Ports Global Private Limited (IPGPL) and Arya Banader of Iran; an memorandum of association (MoU) between Iran’s Ports and Maritime Organisation (PMO) and EXIM Bank to foster the terms and credit line for Chabahar Port Project and a confirmation statement between EXIM Bank and Central Bank of Iran on Projects in Iran.

Narendra Modi termed the friendship with Iran as old as history and said, “Through centuries, our societies have stayed connected through architecture, arts, ideas, traditions, commerce, and culture. Expanded trade ties, deeper connectivity, including railways, partnerships in oil and gas sector, fertilizers, education and cultural sphere are driving our overall economic engagement.” Modi also talked about the mutual admiration and cooperation between both the nations and also laid his gratitude for being the first country to send help during the Gujarat earthquake.

Taking on Twitter, Modi thanked people of Iran and president for the hospitality and called the visit fruitful as it will help both the countries develop economically as well as put a check on concerns like digital and cyber security, terrorism. In order to strengthen the relationship and make India-Iran a collateral partners, Modi invited Iranian president Rouhani to India which he readily agreed. Prime Minister Narendra Modi also gifted Iranian supreme leader Sayyid Ali Khamenei a rare 7th Century manuscript of the Holy Quran written in Kufic script and attributed to Prophet’s son-in-law Hazrat Ali.

Contributor: Shivaji Singh