On 23rd May 2016, Indian Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi addressed at Trilateral Summit of Iran, India, and Afghanistan in Iran. The President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Dr. Hassan Rouhani and President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Dr. Ashraf Ghani and Senior Officials were present there. PM Modi started his speech with a quote from the famous poet of Persia Shri Hafez:

“रोज़ेहिज्रोशबेफ़ुर्क़तेयार आख़र शुद

ज़दम इन फ़ालोगुज़श्त अख़्तरो कार आख़र शुद्”

It means: Days of Separation are over; a night of wait is coming to an end; Our Friendship will stay forever.

PM Modi was grateful to Excellency Rouhani, President Ghani and other members for hosting this event where all can discuss on a range of issues in detail. According to him, we all stood together in unity of our purpose. We all have one common goal i.e. to carve out the new routes of prosperity and peace. The bond of connectivity that we have shared signifies a new dawn for the region. For the three nations, the agenda for the economic engagement is on priority and for that, we all have gathered here.

PM Modi said that India, Iran and Afghanistan respect the reality and richness of the ancient links. For past long years, we have shared a common bond through ideas and knowledge, art and culture, language and tradition. Shri Narendra Modi has a strong belief in the connectivity of the Iran and Afghanistan with India.

According to him, the trade and transit routes will be the starting point of this journey. The full spectrum of this Connectivity Agenda between India, Iran and Afghanistan should span:

From culture to commerce;

From traditions to technology;

From Investments to IT;

From services to strategy; and

From people to politics.

In a way, it is a pledge to:

Realize the imperative of better connectivity;

Establish peace and create stability;

Build economic prosperity and engineer new trade ties;

Curb radicalism and remove shadows of terror; and

Break barriers and spread sweetness of familiarity among our people.

PM Modi said that we are here to write new chapters in our engagement. He mentioned that our communities have never lost touch with each other. The Agreement on the establishment of a Trilateral Transport and Transit Corridor signed between nations will alter the course of history. This will be the new foundation of convergence throughout the region.

The Agreement on the establishment of a Trilateral Transport and Transit Corridor signed just a while ago can alter the course of the history of this region. PM Modi said that the agreement to develop the Chabahar port and the related infrastructure and availability of about $500 million from India is a key milestone. This will include gas based fertilizers, pharmaceuticals, IT companies and pharmaceuticals. The Chabahar port of Iran will provide an effective, assured and friendly route to Afghanistan to trade with other countries of the world which will not only raise the economic status of the nation but also develop a common link. The arc of economic benefit will not be confined to the limits of three nations but it will extend to the depths of the Central Asian countries also.

It will also develop links with the International North-South Transport Corridor, Europe and South Asia which will reduce the cost and time of the cargo trades by about 50%. Moreover, it has also raised the possibilities of connectivity of Indian Ocean Region and South East Asia through sea and land based routes. He said that the economic fruits of this agreement will increase the trade and attract the investors for building infrastructures and industries. This will also raise the job opportunities for the youth. This agreement will strengthen the ability to stand in mutual support against odd situations. The success of this agreement will also bring stability and peace in the countries.

According to PM Modi, the modern world will offer many unique opportunities and challenges. The modern world needs an attitude more suitable to this century. This Chabahar Agreement will drive the positive spirit among people and hence boost up economic growth and encourage the new benchmarks. Shri Narendra Modi said that the world all around us is changing in various fundamental ways. According to him, the lack of comprehensive connectivity has limited our national growth. The political turmoil and undercurrents of economic stress have been observed all over in West Asia. However, in Indo-Pacific areas, a mix of both factors has been noticed that has pressurized the existing Asian order.

Shri Narendra Modi said that the global economy will come out of weakness and uncertain circumstances. Many times, the future prosperity and growth get affected by the radical ideas and physical terrors. The three nations are blessed with the brilliant young generation that can bring a great change with their true potential. All three nations have more than 60% population under 30 years of age and they are an asset in our regional and national development.

With this, Iranian President Dr. Hassan Rouhani announced that May 23 will henceforth be called the ‘Day of Chabahar’ as India, Iran and Afghanistan signed the historic Chabahar Agreement.

He said, “This is a very important day for Iranians and now on it is going to be even more important because today is going to mark the day of cooperation between three of us, Iran, India and Afghanistan and from now on this day can be called the day of Chabahar.”

Asserting that it was an important day in the history of the relationship between the three countries, the Iranian President said that Tehran, Delhi, and Kabul would give this message to the region that the path of progress of the countries of the region goes through the cooperation and utilization of regional opportunity.

Contributor: Sunpreet Kaur